Postpartum Back Pain : For Moms To Regain Comfort

If you’ve ever had back pain, you’ll know how much it sucks! ?? In fact, one of the most cited reasons, by our customers, for seeking out MUTU System in the first place, is postpartum back pain.

64% of mothers surveyed said that back pain has had a big impact on their life since giving birth.

That’s a lot of mamas putting up with potentially unnecessary back pain, just because they had the audacity to give birth? It’s stopping you from doing what you love to do and it’s not allowing you to live your best life.

There are many reasons moms might be experiencing back pain in the postpartum period.

Some of these reasons may be from the experience of pregnancy, some are from the processes in childbirth, and some are from issues around postpartum recovery. If you’re experiencing mild or even chronic back pain firstly understand you’re not alone.

There have been many studies into the issue and whilst ranges vary the majority estimate that 50% of pregnant women will experience some type of low back pain during their pregnancies or in the postpartum period. 1/3 of these will have acute pain, reducing their quality of life and some estimates suggest that up to 40% will still have symptoms at 3 months postpartum and almost 15% at 2 months.

At MUTU we’ve put together some free resources for you.

Read on to discover the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for postpartum back pain to help you find relief and regain your comfort.

Our free resources section for back pain includes articles on:

 

MUTU's free pregnancy and postpartum back pain resources

We'll be adding to this guide over the coming months so make sure to bookmark the resource and let us know if you've got any questions that are not covered. Let's dive in...

So, what happens during pregnancy that causes lower back pain?

Low back pain during pregnancy can be caused by several common factors, including:

  • Changes in the spine: During pregnancy, the spine curves forward to accommodate the growing baby. This can put strain on the muscles and ligaments in the back.
  • Weight gain: The added weight carried in your body during pregnancy can put extra stress on your low back and core muscles.
  • Poor posture: Good posture and excellent alignment is often overlooked as a way to prepare your body for a smoother birth and postpartum recovery.
  • Diastasis recti: DR is a condition in which the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. This can contribute, as the muscles are no longer able to provide the same support to the spine.

As pregnancy progresses we are carrying an ever-increasing load and that load ain’t going anywhere for a good few years. Pregnancy and mothering involve carrying a lot of weights, often in the same repetitive or prolonged positions.

Our body is literally shaped according to how we carry our loads. Pregnancy doesn’t cause poor alignment or posture, but our alignment habits will be exaggerated with the extra load of pregnancy, and that’s when we get pain.

You can learn more about alignment and back pain here – it’s really important and a cornerstone of MUTU System – if your body is not stacked in a position that means it can work right, you’re exercising to keep those body parts in the wrong place.

Back pain can be a consequence of giving birth post-pregnancy. Here’s how:

  • Birth positions: Many women spend a good bit of birth in positions which put added strain on their vertebra and muscle strain in the back. Long pushing stages and/or a particularly difficult labor can also lead to discomfort during recovery. 
  • Anaesthesia: The placement of an epidural or spinal block can sometimes cause muscle tightness and bruising which can lead to lingering back pain in postpartum.
  • Pelvic pain and pelvic floor issues: This is because the muscles in the pelvic floor are weakened leading to instability as they can no longer provide the same support to the spine
  • Incontinence: Incontinence after birth can cause back pain. A pelvic floor that’s either too loose or too tight can cause urinary or faecal incontinence and can be painful. 
  • Postpartum mood disorders: PMADs can cause muscle tension, which many new moms feel in their backs after birth.
  • Feeding positions: There’s so much emphasis on positioning baby correctly for feeding that often mom winds up in odd and not usually comfortable shapes. It’s a lot to keep mind of, but slouching and hunching over during feedings (breast or bottle) can cause back problems. 
  • Weak or sore muscles
  • Spasms and cramps
  • Sciatic nerve pain/damage
  • Herniated discs 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Posture issues
  • Neuropathic (nerve) damage
  • Spinal cord pain

From postpartum exercises and physical therapy to improved posture and pelvic floor health. There are a number of natural and complimentary care options for relieving postpartum back pain:

  • Strength training: Strength training can help to strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture, both of which help. 
  • Stretching: Gentle stretching can help to improve your flexibility and reduce back pain.
  • Massage therapy: Massage therapy can help ease the tense or spasmodic back muscles. It can also help with c-section scar tissue, which can often help relieve pain.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is thought to relieve inflammation and treat overall discomfort. It can also speed up your body’s ability to recover. 
  • Yoga: Postpartum yoga can help to improve your flexibility, strength, and balance, all of which can help to reduce back and hip pain.

Yes! Stretching, bending and exercise can help improve back pain and hip discomfort after birth (even after long periods of time). We have some great exercises to help relieve your back pain in postpartum here.

Be mindful that some exercises may be unsuitable and best to avoid if you have persistent back pain. Common core exercises such as sit-ups, crunches or excessive twisting can exert too much pressure which may exacerbate low-back pain further.

Well, it’s certainly related. Our Core is so much more than our just our abs. It’s our lower back, pelvic floor, all our abdominal muscles, our glutes, and our hips – it’s our entire trunk or center. 

If that central vital muscle system is compromised, and by that, I mean, not as functional or strong as we want it to be, then another body part has to take the strain. Usually our lower back. 

If you’re experiencing diastasis recti and weak connective tissue at the front of your abs, that’s one part of your trunk not able to stabilize as well, so your lower back takes the strain. 

If you’re bending over to pick up your child or anything else heavy, and you’re not stabilizing your deep core muscles and using your glutes effectively as you stand upright… your lower back takes the strain. 

If you’re bending over, pushing, pulling, twisting, turning (As mamas, we do this all the time) grabbing an escaping toddler, picking up toys, and your core is not flexible, strong and switching on… your lower back takes the strain.

So core strength and back pain are definitely related.

Generally speaking, yes. You are more likely to have back pain if you have a c-section versus a vaginal birth. This is because a c-section is a major surgery that involves cutting through the abdominal muscles and uterus. Healing from this can cause pain and inflammation in the back muscles and nearby ligaments. 

Additionally, the scar from a c-section can put strain on the muscles, which can cause problems. Also, as mentioned above, it’s possible that the spinal block administered for a caesarean can cause discomfort in the back after birth. 

Often a c-section occurs after longer labours, particularly if there was a lengthy pushing phase. In that case, your chances of having lingering back pain in postpartum go up, also. Having to be more cautious during your recovery time, restful, and slower to get back into more movement after this surgery can also add up to back pain. Be mindful to move your body frequently, but gently after a caesarean birth to help lower your risk.

Due to the frequency of occurrence we’ve put together some more in-depth resources for back pain after c-section and long term back pain after c-section specifically.

In most cases, post-birth back pain is mild and goes away on its own within a few weeks. However, many moms ask us how they will know when its normal or when it’s an issue.

If your discomfort is severe or doesn’t improve with home treatment, you should see a doctor, healthcare provider or physical therapist. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing the issue

Here are some signs that you may have a more serious problem:

  • Postpartum back pain that is severe or that gets worse over time
  • Back pain after birth that is accompanied by fever, chills, or other symptoms
  • Back pain after pregnancy that makes it difficult to walk, sit, or stand
  • Back pain after delivery that is accompanied by numbness or tingling in your legs

Daily movement and core strengthening

This doesn’t mean doing 100 crunches as fast as you can, BTW. It means moving your body in a way that makes you feel good and reconnecting with the deep core muscles and that starts with ‘finding’ them. For some gentle movement exercises to help relieve postpartum back pain check out these.

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Change your shoes

Yup seriously, your shoes are affecting how optimally your core can do its job, and when they hinder your core from doing its job, your back will hurt. High heels are not helping. They are skewing your alignment, throwing all the stacked parts out of kilter and your back is taking the strain. In MUTU we talk shoes a lot and encourage minimal or barefoot shoes. But for the purposes of this blog… I’m just gonna say, lose the heels as often as you can and if you are suffering from lower back pain – definitely try it. 


Squat, baby!

Your glutes play a big role in your core strength and confidence. If your glutes are not doing their job, your pelvic floor suffers, and so does your back. Gluteal muscles not only stabilize around your tailbone, but they also help support your low back muscles. If the glutes are weak, the low back muscles have to work harder, which makes them fatigued and sore. Squats, baby. We squat a lot in MUTU too. MUTU teaches you to protect your back, and build glutes as you squat.

It sure can! The MUTU system is an exercise program designed around functional movement. That means that we focus less on just getting a tight tummy or shredded mom abs and more on building the foundational, core strength needed for a lifetime of a healthy birthing body. Each component of the MUTU process builds upon a centered core, good spinal alignment, breath work and connecting to your body, stabilizing through your pelvic floor, and progressive strength. These all will help new moms with postpartum back pain, even years after giving birth

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