More than likely, you experienced back pain during pregnancy. Even if it wasn't debilitating, there were probably days and nights where the achy back became annoying. You probably expected some aches and pains during pregnancy. But after a C-section? Back pain is very common during pregnancy but can persist after birth no matter how you delivered. Read on to learn how to reduce back pain after c-section naturally.
Causes of Back Pain after C-Section
Not only are you still recovering from surgery, but dealing with back pain can be aggravating. With that being said, knowing possible causes can help on your road to recovery.
Lifting and carrying a new baby can cause back pain. The abdominal muscles are still healing from surgery and pregnancy. Since they're not functioning optimally, they likely aren't supporting your back as well when you lift and bend.
Abdominal muscles healing/ recovering. As I mentioned above, those muscles are still healing. A C-Section is a HUGE abdominal surgery. It takes up to a year for everything to fully heal and recover.
Hormonal Changes. While we're not entirely sure how much of a role hormones play, varying levels of hormones in the postpartum period with the possibility of changes due to breastfeeding can affect the integrity of ligaments. This leads to less support for the back.
Breastfeeding and/ or bottle-feeding. We spend a lot of time sitting. A lot of that time is spent sitting and likely looking at baby. This puts our backs and necks in positions that can cause pain and stiffness
Anesthesia. If you had a spinal block, muscles spasms can sometimes occur causing pain around the low back.
How to Reduce Back Pain
There are many ways to learn how to reduce back pain after a c-section naturally without using medication.
Posture/ Body Mechanics
How to Relieve Back Pain
Sitting- When you're sitting, make sure you're well supported, especially in the early days after a C-Section. Try to sit with the shoulders lined up over the hips and ears in line with the shoulders.
Standing- It's similar with standing. Keep a neutral alignment and avoid hanging forward in your posture.
Avoid repetitive bending so you aren't putting a lot of pressure on the incision.
Lifting/ twisting- Try to limit lifting more than your baby repetitively. Additionally, limit twisting and rotational movements initially after a C-section so you don't put too much tension on the incision.
Abdominal Binder- This does not have to be anything fancy, and it isn't forever. But in the initial days after a C-section it can really help provide some extra support
Exercises to relieve back pain after C-Section
Pelvic Rest Posture
Deep Abdominal Contraction/ Transverse Abdominal Contraction
Begin lying on your back with your knees bent, feet resting on the floor, and your fingers resting on your stomach just above your hip bones.
Tighten your abdominals, pulling your navel in toward your spine and up. You should feel your muscles contract under your fingers. Hold this position, then relax and repeat.
Make sure to keep your back flat against the floor and do not hold your breath as you tighten your muscles.
When to see a doctor or your physical therapist
If you're experiencing pain that is interfering with your ability to do simple, daily tasks, this could be something to have checked out. If you're having sharp/ shooting pain or numbness and tingling into the legs, this may also be important to have checked out in the early days. Aside from back pain, if you're experiencing any redness or oozing of foul-smelling discharge from the incision, seek care immediately.
Check out our other posts to have the best postpartum recovery!