You’re overjoyed by your adorable newborn, but not so much the back pain. If you’re experiencing postpartum back pain, it’s time to find quick solutions so that you can enjoy every moment with your baby.
Remember: Check with your provider if you’re experiencing back pain combined with serious symptoms such as a fever, stabbing pain or loss of sensation. While lower back pain is common in the first two to six months after giving birth, it shouldn’t be keeping you from everyday movements.
Of course, check with your provider to ensure that these tips are right for your situation.
Tips for relieving postpartum back pain
1. Start your morning with pelvic tilts.
One of the best ways to relieve back pain is to do daily pelvic tilts. This exercise will strengthen your lower back muscles and buttocks. To do it, lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Then lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your buttocks. You can about ten of these every morning.
Postpartum exercise: Pelvic tilt with bridge
If you’re interested in other stretches, yoga is highly recommended. Many yoga poses can strengthen your core and restore muscles while remaining low-impact exercise. After the first few months, you might also try walking or swimming to get good cardio-based activity. If you want more info on exercising postpartum, this is a great guide.
2. Check your breastfeeding posture.
If you breastfeed your baby, make sure you’re sitting straight. Don’t lean towards your baby. Leaning forward can strain your back, causing it to ache during the day. In addition, if you’re experiencing back pain while breastfeeding, you can always lie down on your side to prevent the pain (just be careful not to fall asleep in the position if you are on a couch or chair).
3. Carry around a water bottle.
Many new mothers don’t hydrate enough. Understandable, since they’ve got a lot on their minds! However, drinking enough water is essential so that your muscles can repair and your blood flow stays strong. Follow the eight x eight rule—eight glasses of 8 oz. daily—so that you get enough water. A good tip is to carry around a water bottle as a reminder to hydrate. You can also time drinking water with another activity. For example, every time your baby breastfeeds, you drink half a glass of water.
4. Watch what you lift.
It’s vital that you don’t overuse your muscles. New moms have lots to carry—babies, car seats, diaper bags, and more so be sure that you’re not carrying too much at once.
Weight should also be distributed equally. For example, purchase a diaper bag that has two shoulders instead of one. Try to avoid placing your baby on one hip, too. A good alternative is a baby carrier that allows you to carry your baby in a healthy way.
You should also take note of how you’re lifting things. Bend your knees to pick something up and hold it close to your body. Whenever you can, use your leg muscles and abs instead of your back.
5. Relax with an essential oil bath.
Baby’s gone to bed. Now it’s time for a nice warm bath with essential oils! Essential oils are an excellent idea for back pain relief. Many essential oils have pain-reducing properties, such as marjoram, ginger, frankincense, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and basil. Just put a few drops of an essential in a hot bath and ta-da! The hot water and the essential oil can relieve some pain.
Keep in mind that not all essential oils are safe for everyone to use, so check in with your provider for specific recommendations for you, especially if you are breastfeeding.
6. Boost up with omega-3.
Omega-3 is an excellent boost for your back. It’s an anti-inflammatory compound found in fish and nuts and is useful for keeping your back pain under control since it’s known to reduce inflammation. Try taking a daily omega-3 supplement and see if it helps keep you pain-free.
You might also try white willow bark. Known as “nature’s aspirin,” white willow bark is scientifically proven to reduce back pain effectively. In fact, studies show that 39% of patients suffering from back pain were pain-free after taking white willow bark for a month—but it’s likely best to avoid willow bark if you are breastfeeding or pumping.
Before starting any supplements, check with your provider to ensure there are no issues for you.
7. Plan a weekly menu with antioxidant-rich meals.
Diet is critical when it comes to back pain. In the chaos of a new baby, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and plan meals that will reduce inflammation and fuel your recovery. Try to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, which means lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains and olive oil. Specifically, antioxidant-rich foods, like leafy greens and colorful fruits, will reduce pain. Cutting processed food can also help, as these foods typically include unhealthy ingredients that flare up inflammation.
As a part of your weekly menu, you can also think of healthy snacks and drinks. For example, drinking green tea is a great antioxidant. Or try a berry smoothie in the afternoon. If you can, staying on top of your meals will help your health—and your back—in the long-run.
8. Sign up for massage therapy.
Massage therapy can have a substantial positive impact on your back pain. An expert massage therapist can use the power of touch to keep your muscles from staying stiff and tense. Massage session also helps release stress, as well as reduce pain. It’s a win-win: Relaxing and good for your back.
Additionally, a massage therapist or a chiropractor can help you create a holistic care plan that includes specific information for your situation. This may include diet, exercise, essential oils, supplements, and other care areas. A professional chiropractor can make sure you’re postpartum body is recovering as it should, as well as recommend adjustments.
Healing your back after giving birth can be a long road, but we hope these tips will help pave the way.