During the nine months of pregnancy, your body goes through an incredible number of physical changes, many of which contribute to various degrees of back pain. After delivery, you may be thinking that the worst is over, but your recovery will be unpredictable and back pain may be lingering. Are you nursing a hurting back? Here are some reasons your post-baby back may be giving you grief.
As the uterus expands with the growing baby, the two parallel panels of muscle that run from the rib cage to the pubic bone stretch and become weakened, and may also separate along the center seam from the strain. Being that strong abdominal muscles are necessary for back stability, the lingering weakness or damage is a main cause of back pain in new moms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a woman of a healthy weight at the beginning of a pregnancy should gain about 25-35lbs, and that added weight is a strain on the spine. Also, because most of that weight is carried in the front, your center of gravity will shift and you will make lasting changes to your posture and the way you move, which can later contribute to back pain after delivery.
It’s hard to imagine that emotional stress can contribute to muscle tension in the back, but the back pain or spasms you may be experiencing might be caused by the stress of the major changes happening. Dr. John Sarno, MD, a physician and professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at New York University, recently coined the term “Tension Myositis Syndrome” (TMS). His theory suggests that emotional tension causes changes to the body’s nervous system, including constriction of blood vessels and reduction of blood flow to soft tissues like muscles and nerves in the back, leading to back pain.
During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called relaxin to loosen the joints and ligaments in the pelvic area to relax in preparation for the birth process. That same hormone can cause loosening of the ligaments that support the spine, causing instability and pain.
Not only will you be lifting a baby up to 50 times a day, you’ll also be lifting bulky diaper bags and heavy car seats. With weak abdominals and loose joints, it’s easy to overextend and find yourself in pain.
Putting Back Pain to Bed
With the challenges of caring for a newborn, taking care of your back pain may be low on the priority list. But many back pain treatments for moms are available, and the sooner you heal, the better for you and baby. Contact Envista Medical today so our experienced team of doctors, chiropractors and therapists can provide options like spinal decompression, physiotherapy and chiropractic care to give you the postpartum relief you need.