What causes post-partum problems?
A lot of research has been done to try and explain why women get pain following childbirth and many of the identified factors won’t be a surprise. They include repetitive lifting and carrying, weak abdominal muscles, increased weight, previous back injury (including during pregnancy) and poor posture.
Activities like feeding, carrying and lifting your child hundreds of times a week, whilst simultaneously trying to reach back down to pick up the toys that they have left behind place significant asymmetric strains on areas such as the back, shoulder, neck, arm and wrist. The pregnancy will also have stretched the abdominal muscles, increased your weight and body’s fat stores and massively changed your posture and gait (how you walk). These changes also make it harder for your abdominal muscles to support the lower back.
What’s more, the pregnancy hormones relaxin continues to act on the ligaments, making them more lax for approximately five months after childbirth. This places more pressure on the joints, ligaments and discs of the lower back and can make them more vulnerable to injury and misalignment.
How does osteopathic treatment help?
Ben Posen, the osteopath at Hampstead Osteopathy, treats lots of new mums, using a range of approaches to address the problems described above. Treatments include:
- Joint mobilisation – to promote greater range of movement in the back and free trapped nerves.
- Deep soft tissue massage – to reduce muscle spasms
- Postural guidance and safe exercises – to make your body stronger and more flexible, so that your symptoms don’t keep coming back.