Wendy Powell

Our guide to relieving postpartum back pain

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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.

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So, you want some tips to live pain-free and banish that pesky postpartum back pain for good, right?

  1. You can experience postpartum back pain for a number of reasons, but it’s usually connected to a weak core and poor body alignment. The two are totally fixable and we’ve got you covered further down ?
  2. Things you do every day could be making this pain even worse. The way you sit, move, walk, and even the shoes you wear, can all be contributing. Yes… I hate to break it to you but… Step away from the heels ? ?
  3. All is not lost! There are some simple at-home techniques, exercises and lifestyle changes that can help. You need specific core exercises designed for mothers, that can help to strengthen your whole core so your back muscles stop taking over the bulk of the work. They need to learn to take a break!

Causes of postpartum back pain

?? You pick up your kids and your back hurts 

?? When you turn awkwardly your back hurts 

?? If you sit at a desk your back hurts 

?? When you breastfeed your back hurts 

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.

Does a stronger core mean less back pain?

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. 

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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.

How to relieve postpartum back pain

Okay, so now we get down to the good stuff. You want to know how to banish this pain you’re dealing with, right? Here’s how:

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. To know how to correctly ‘find’ them read ?? THIS and for some gentle movement exercises to help relieve back pain check out ?? THESE exercises. 

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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.

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HannahNovember 12, 2020

Can this also help with pain in the upper back? I think from poor posture in general and especially while hunched over breastfeeding?

WendyNovember 30, 2020

Hey Hannah – yep! We have a whole series on back pain on the blog – be sure to check it out!

AmySeptember 11, 2020

Love it

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