Being a mom fills my life with joy! But with that joy can sometimes come back pain often caused by all the new movements that come with being a new mom—lifting and carrying the baby, picking up the baby in their infant carrier and hauling around the heavy diaper bag. Here are some of the causes of back pain for moms and tips to help alleviate (and prevent) back pain as you care for your little one.
Carrying the baby
When carrying the baby around the house, try alternating holding the baby and carrying them in a sling. The carrier should have two straps to help evenly distribute the baby’s weight. When carrying the infant carrier, use both hands and keep it close to your body.
Lifting the baby
You will find yourself lifting the baby from their crib or the floor and often times will find your back in an awkward position. When lifting from the floor, squat down and hold the baby close to you, then straighten your legs as you stand up. When lifting the baby from the crib, stand with your feet hip-width apart, move the baby toward you and bend your knees as you lift your baby.
When you feed your baby, keep your back supported. You can use pillows, armrests or a nursing pillow to keep your back supported and in a straighter posture versus slouching. It is helpful to think about maintaining a neutral spinal posture. To help counteract the slouched forward posture you can perform back and neck extensions. What can you do to help with your back pain?
Throughout the day, stretching can help you alleviate your neck and back pain. Simply stretching backward and raising your arms upward toward the ceiling several times a day will help to alleviate some of your back pain.
Yoga and Pilates
Once you are cleared by your obstetrician, usually about six weeks postpartum, yoga and Pilates can both be helpful in helping with your back pain.
Treat yourself to a postpartum massage. It helps to promote relaxation and relieve stress, both of which can help decrease your back pain.
Spine Physical Therapy
If your back or neck pain is persistent, seeing a spine therapist can help identify the cause of your pain. They can create a personalized exercise program to help alleviate your pain and teach you strategies to strengthen your core spine and abdominal muscles.
When to see a doctor
Most back pain after you have your baby is caused by strains or sprains. However, sometimes your ongoing back pain may be caused by a more serious issue. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should see your physician to be evaluated:
- a. Pain does not work with the home remedies listed above
- b. Pain gets worse at night
- c. You experience numbness and tingling in your legs
- d. You have unexpected, rapid weight loss
- e. You have an unexplained fever
- f. You experience loss of bowel or bladder control
I hope these tips are helpful to relieve your back pain as you care for your baby. If you continue to have pain, the Physiatrists and Spine Therapists at Resurgens Spine Center are here to help you!
Marly N. Dows-Martinez, M.D., received her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Emory University in Atlanta and her Fellowship in Pain Management at Georgia Regents University in Augusta. Dr. Dows-Martinez is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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