When you talked to friends and family about bringing a baby into the world, you may have heard warnings about sleepless nights, dealing with colic, and the terrible twos.
But what you probably didn’t hear about was the incredible strain a child puts on your back. Orthopedic stress is incredibly common in new parents, and especially in new moms.
If you don’t nip it in the bud, you can cause lasting damage to your spine that can cause chronic pain for years out.
In this guide, we’ll explain why new moms commonly suffer from orthopedic stress, as well as how to prevent orthopedic stress and what to do if you find yourself suffering from chronic back pain after having a child.
Why do New Moms Suffer from Orthopedic Stress?
During pregnancy, your ligaments become loose and your body shifts to make room for the baby growing inside of you. The weight of the baby can put pressure on your lower back before they even leave the womb.
And after they’re born, things don’t automatically snap back into place. Your body remains loose for months, vulnerable to outside stressors.
While your body is recovering, you have a small human relying on you for everything. Even mothers who didn’t carry their babies inside of them may suffer from back pain as they learn to bend and contort in new ways to accommodate their child.
Bending to lift your child throughout the day, carrying them on one hip, and curling over them to feed them are all great ways to cause your body orthopedic stress.
You use muscles you didn’t used to use in ways you’ve never needed to use them, and you do it automatically, without building the strength and stamina you need to sustain it.
Instead of giving your body time to recover from the stress of pregnancy, you’re lugging 30-pound infant carseats in and out of grocery stores.
As your child grows, it gets worse. Soon, your already strained back is further weighed down as you bend double to help your child take his or her first steps. You chase a toddler around the house and clamber over baby gates with your hands full.
It’s no wonder so many moms suffer from back pain.
How Do You Prevent Orthopedic Stress as a New Mom?
Luckily, there are steps that you can take as a new mom to prevent orthopedic stress. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to ensure that you always have proper support when you’re carrying your baby.
Use pillows to prop your arms when feeding your baby so that you don’t have to hold yourself at an odd angle, and focus on bringing your baby up to your face rather than arching your neck to bring your face down to your baby.
It’s also important to strengthen your core muscles so that you have the support necessary to continue lifting and carrying your child throughout their early years.
Yoga is a great tool to use to strengthen your core muscles and help you learn the mindfulness necessary to focus on your posture throughout the day.
How Do You Relieve Orthopedic Stress as a New Mom?
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re suffering from orthopedic stress, some basic floor exercises may help you relieve tension and get yourself back on the right track.
One of the best things you can do is stretch out your sore muscles and encourage areas you’ve kept tense to relax and lengthen. Roller balls and massages are great ways to get knots out of your back as well, especially for short-term, temporary back pain.
You can also improve your diet, focusing on low-inflammation foods and reducing foods that cause inflammation while your back recovers.
Plant-based diets are particularly good for reducing inflammation. Just be sure to eat enough iron-rich foods to support your body, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Once you relieve orthopedic stress, it’s important to go back to taking preventative measures against back pain so that it doesn’t return. Continue to work on your posture and make sure you carry your child equally on both sides of your body.
What Do you do about Persistent Back Pain?
If you find yourself struggling with back pain that doesn’t go away in a day or two, it may be time to call an expert in.
One of the dangers of orthopedic stress after having children is that you may teach your spine to curl and shorten, which can cause lasting damage to the area.
The sooner you reach out to an orthopedic specialist, the more likely you are to catch issues before they become permanent.
If you’re concerned about persistent back pain, contact Dr. Randall F. Dryer to consult about what’s causing your back pain and what you should do to relieve it.