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Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Sachin Bhonsle’s Advice On How To Deal With Back Pain Post Delivery

1. What causes back pain post-delivery?

This is a very common issue, and there are many reasons for it. Weight of the uterus containing the baby will cause pull on the lumbar spine causing mechanical back pain, as in carrying a heavy baby in late pregnancy causes a direct pull on the lower back. More importantly, during pregnancy, the hormonal changes that happen to help the healthy development of the baby, soften all ligaments in the mother’s body, making the spine vulnerable. This is also another cause of back pain. Other reasons like weight gain and change in activity play a role too.

2. Is back pain only common with vaginal births? Is it normal to have back pain after a C-section?

Actually, there isn’t much of a difference. Vaginal birth requires a specific position which can temporarily upset the back. An important point to note is that an epidural injection is usually not responsible for back pain. Many people assume that epidural means lifelong back pain.

3. Can breastfeeding make your back hurt?

Breastfeeding does not make your back hurt if you are keeping your back upright. A new mother who is breastfeeding a baby needs appropriate calcium and vitamin supplements to avoid soft bones, which usually lead to back pain.

4. How soon after delivery can you start exercising to relieve back pain?

After a normal uneventful delivery, your doctor may allow exercises soon. However, you must consult your doctor before you begin exercising of any kind.

5. What are some ways to get rid of back pain postpartum?

Maintain correct posture and follow specific advice of your Obstetrician. You can use warm packs and gentle massages, but avoid painkillers.  Always try and or stand upright to maintain the natural alignment of your spine.

6. When should you consult a doctor for back pain post-delivery?

It is advisable to immediately consult your doctor. While it is common, back pain is not to be considered normal after delivery. Don’t ignore it thinking it will go away on its own. This can further exacerbate your back pain and prolong the pain.

7. What are some cautionary tips for mothers who are suffering from back pain?

Mild mechanical back pain will go away in a few weeks, so simple exercises, fomentation and a massage will do the job, all of which should be done after checking with your doctor. However, if the pain is severe or radiating to the legs, then you must ask your Obstetrician to allow an Orthopaedic opinion.

8. What medicines can you take for back pain while breastfeeding?

This is a very important question. You are not allowed the majority painkillers while breastfeeding. The medicine goes into the breast milk, then to the baby, and can cause permanent damage. Paracetamol may be safe to take but you should never self-medicate. If you need medications you must consult your doctor.

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