Lower back pain after pregnancy is more common of an occurrence than people know with some statistics placing it at over 50% of women who suffer from lower back pain after giving birth. There could be a number of factors for this lower back pain, but after having a child a woman can really suffer. Some of the reasons could possibly be due to the medication taken during pregnancy (epidural) and another could be actual physical damage due to the pregnancy and delivery itself. Here are some causes of lower back pain after pregnancy and perhaps some solutions to relieve some of the pain.
- Posture and stress on the body
During pregnancy, the stress of carrying a child can cause the body to overcompensate due to the weight. This over-compensation can lead to a change in posture and cause stress on the spine. These postural changes can lead to various muscles becoming out of condition after the pregnancy, such as stomach muscles and lower back muscles. It is recommended, after consultation with your doctor or health care professional, to commence with a postpartum exercise program to recondition the muscles.
- Increased hormones can lead to postpartum back pain
During pregnancy, a woman’s body releases a hormone called relaxin that relaxes the joints and ligaments in the pelvis. The release of this hormone makes it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal. Unfortunately, this instability in the pelvic region can also increase the risk of inflammation and joint misalignment, which subsequently can lead to lower back pain. The elevated levels of Relaxin remain this way for three to four months after delivery. Once the hormones return to normal, most pregnancy-related lower back problems can subside.
- Coccydynia, coccyx pain and coccygectomy
During a vaginal child-birth, great pressure is exerted on the coccyx. There is enough pressure of the baby moving through the birth canal that the coccyx can be bruised and in some cases actually break. Breaking of the coccyx is pretty rare. There is potentially some general soreness for a number of weeks in the area of the coccyx simply from the stress of child-birth, but if the pain continues for longer than a few weeks it is recommended to see your health care professional to alert them to this issue. In our experience, if the pain continues after a comfortable length of time, you will need to consider some options to alleviate the pain – including a coccygectomy or surgical removal of the coccyx. This should only be done after consultation and from a qualified surgeon who has had experience in coccyx removal surgery as it can be a delicate procedure based on the location.A coccygectomy should be a last resort to help manage the pain, and there is no guarantee of success. In our case, it was successful, but there is still occasional pain and soreness even ten years after the surgery. Our quality of life is much better than before the surgery, so we’d recommend having a coccygectomy if it’s an option for you.
If you suffer from lower back pain after pregnancy, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although you may feel that you will never be rid of the pain, exercise and hormones returning to their balanced levels should give you some pain relief and the postpartum back pain will become a distant memory. More serious lower back pain caused by actual physical damage to the coccyx may eventually require surgery – a coccygectomy.