Postpartum Chiropractic Care
Postpartum moms undergo the most musculoskeletal aches and pains due to the hormonal changes, structural changes, and functional changes. The postpartum body has to heal from birth, provide both food and care to a newborn, and faces many new positions as they hold their new baby. The aches and pains include, but are not limited to: neck pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, hip pain, and low back pain. The new mom has gone from her pregnant body, which in and of itself had significant changes over 10 months, to her postpartum body that has been fatigued and weakened. The new postpartum body must heal from birth (vaginal or caesarian section) and rebuild the weakened core.
The relaxin that was in the body during pregnancy to help loosen the ligaments to prepare for widening of the pelvis for birth remains in the body up to four months after breastfeeding.
The most common pains postpartum are in the neck and midback. This is due to carrying the baby, nursing/feeding the baby, sleeping in unusual positions, and more. The midback and neck become restricted and the muscles become chronically tight. Without doing any self-care, the problem often builds and can become chronic.
Another common pain postpartum is in the pelvis and low back, which is due to holding the baby and also from the unstable pelvis due to the relaxin during pregnancy. The relaxin can remain in the body up to four months post breastfeeding. This means the pelvis can remain unstable for longer than we expect. Gentle adjusting can maintain proper pelvic function and rehab care can help strengthen the areas around the pelvis to gain the stability needed to help reduce the pain.
There is also rib pain that can be described as pain with breathing, pain with any upper body movement, sharp, and stabbing. A rib has the ability to be “out”/”subluxated” and can cause enough pain, some patients even go to the ER. The ribs can commonly go out due to the relaxin in the system creating lose ligaments and from the new positions parents find themselves in as they hold their baby. This type of pain is very simple to relieve by a simple adjustment and some muscle work.
There are many other areas of pain during this time for mothers. The other common areas of complaint that we see at Gaia Health are both elbow pain and wrist pain. The elbow pain is experienced from sustained elbow flexion that is from holding/cradling the baby. The elbows are not use to 6+ pounds of weight being held for hours on end and pain can result from overuse of the muscles surrounding the elbow. Wrist pain can be from instability due to the relaxin and also overuse from how the baby is held other new parenting tasks.
Overall, the postpartum mom has a lot of areas that can be in pain and discomfort, but they should not remain in pain because they don’t have time to come into the office or don’t have the energy to pack up the baby (and their other kids). Gaia Health offers the ability to be treated in the clinic or in the comfort of your own home.