by Duncan Cameron Mitchell (Osteopath)
Back pain is a reality for many new mums. Having seen my wife go through the physical challenges of pregnancy, labour and then an emergency C-section, it is clear that even before the care giving begins that women have been through the mill both physically and emotionally.
Immediately on leaving the hospital with the car seat banging awkwardly against the sides of legs, growing amounts of extra luggage required on each simple journey into town and the lack of quality sleep leaving little energy or inclination to exercise it becomes almost inevitable that new mums will suffer from some form of back pain.
With that said, a little bit of self-care can minimise or prevent back pain altogether.
Use a supportive chair and pillows to help your posture – you may be there for sometime! A cushion under the arm supporting the baby’s head will prevent strain. If you are breast feeding use pillows to move your baby’s head into the optimal feeding position rather than try to move your breast towards your baby.
Possibly the most difficult to find time for, however, walking, Pilates, post natal yoga are all great forms of exercise for new mums. If time is precious (or money) then a DVD, online course, YouTube videos, can create a routine for just fifteen minutes each day.
Vital for healing, recovery and the ability to deal with stress and pain. Yet at this time in your life it is such a rare commodity. Options available include napping in the day whilst your baby is asleep, delegating feeds, separate beds temporarily so that you don’t wake each other up if you or your partner are on night feed duty. Finally earlier bed times! Record it, don’t watch it until tomorrow.
A simple piece of advice – “If your cot has adjustable heights then USE THEM”. I know it can be a bit of a fiddle and a faff but it is truly worth it. Take advantage of the highest level until you baby can pull them self up.
Current guidelines state that paracetamol and ibuprofen are safe to take whilst breastfeeding. However, recent evidence suggests that paracetamol has little effect on back pain so perhaps the best advice is if the discomfort persists seek professional help.
An Osteopath will…
1. Assess what is causing your pain.
2. Use manual techniques resolve muscle and joint tension.
3. Offer guidance as how to best manage your problem.
Duncan Cameron-Mitchell, works at Summertown Clinic on a Tuesday. To book an appointment please give our friendly reception team a ring on 01865 558561, or book online here.