April 10, 2014 7:57 am | CORE PT & MC | by CORE Movement Specialists
When you’re pregnant, you envision this perfect, little baby that only sleeps, eats and poops. It can’t be that hard, right? Then the little one arrives and everything changes. He or she only sleeps for short stretches, eats ALL THE TIME and is the most demanding roommate that you’ve ever had. All this adjustment is hard enough when you feel somewhat normal, but if you’re in pain it can make the transition even more challenging. Pregnancy changes a lot of things, but it really takes a toll on your body. Everything is loose and stretched out, literally. While you’re pregnant, your body increases production of a hormone called relaxin. Among other things, it relaxes your pelvic ligaments and is believed to soften the pubis symphysis, which are important for delivery, but your body doesn’t just go back to normal after delivery. Relaxin stays at elevated levels for 5-6 months and even longer if you’re breastfeeding. This leaves you with a level of instability in your core. It is common a complaint to have back pain after pregnancy, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. Gentle stability training (no sit-ups for the new momma) can help to stabilize your spine and control your pain.
And you’ve never spent as much time on the floor as you will with a baby. All the time spent trying to get your little one to enjoy tummy time might have left you with low back pain. The amount of bending forward you do (changing diapers, changing clothes, lifting your baby, sitting on the floor) uses a lot of lumbar flexion and without the right form or muscle balance, it can eventually cause you pain.
Another common post-partum complaint is neck and shoulder pain. Those little babies are heavy, especially when you add the weight of your newest accessories, infant carriers and diaper bags. And now you’re spending multiple hours a day looking down at your little one (maybe to admire how precious they are when they’re sleeping or maybe to plead with them to take a bottle and stop crying). If you don’t have the proper shoulder positioning, it can really take a toll on the muscles of your neck and shoulders. The best tip is to RELAX. When things get stressful, try to keep your back relaxed (you’re probably arching it) and make sure your shoulder is resting in a good position (it’s probably tipped forward).
Life as a new mom is HARD, but it doesn’t have to be painful too. At CORE, we can help you safely get control of your aches and pains and allow you to enjoy the new little person in your life.