Say Goodbye to Postpartum Joint Pain: Essential Tips for Moms

mom holding baby with Postpartum joint pain
mom holding baby with Postpartum joint pain

Congratulations on becoming a mother! While this new phase of life brings immense joy, it can also come with its share of challenges. One such challenge is postpartum joint pain, which many moms experience. In this post, we will provide you with essential tips to help alleviate postpartum joint pain and enable you to fully enjoy this precious time with your little one.

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What is Postpartum Joint Pain?

Postpartum joint pain is an uncomfortable reality that many new mothers encounter. It can show up as a persistent ache or stiffness in various joints of the body, often affecting daily routines and overall well-being.

Before We Continue…

Seeking medical advice is crucial if you’re experiencing persistent postpartum pain beyond six weeks. While your doctor might consider prescription medications to manage the discomfort, we advocate for a more personalized approach that doesn’t depend entirely on medication.

That’s where physical therapy comes in.

As physical therapists, we are committed to offering tailored solutions that transcend generic treatments. We understand that every individual is unique, each presenting a distinct set of challenges and needs. Our approach is to delve deep into your specific situation, providing you with a custom treatment plan to support you on your healing journey.

With that said, let’s delve into how physical therapy can help in alleviating and managing postpartum discomfort effectively.

Causes of Postpartum Joint Pain

Hormonal changes

During pregnancy, your body undergoes significant hormonal changes, including the release of relaxin, which loosens the ligaments and joints to prepare for childbirth. After giving birth, the hormone levels start to normalize, but it takes time for the ligaments and joints to regain stability, leading to postpartum joint pain. Additionally, the physical stress of pregnancy and the strain of childbirth can also contribute to discomfort in the joints and surrounding areas.

Weight gain

Weight gain is a natural and necessary part of pregnancy. However, it can sometimes place pressure on the joints, particularly those in the lower back, hips, and knees, which can sometimes lead to discomfort and pain as the body adapts to its new shape and weight.

Poor posture

The combination of increased weight and the relaxin hormone often leads to altered body mechanics. New moms may unknowingly adopt poor posture to accommodate, leading to strain and pain in various joints, especially the back and hips.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Pain in the hips, lower back, and pelvis:

    One of the most noticeable indicators of postpartum joint pain is a persistent ache in the hips, lower back, and pelvic region. This discomfort can range from a dull, nagging ache to sharper, more intense pain. It’s a sign that the body is still in the process of healing post-childbirth.
  2. Stiffness and limited range of motion:

    You might also experience stiffness in the joints, giving you a limited range of motion. This can be attributed to the body’s natural response to healing post-delivery. The stiffness is often more pronounced in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  3. Difficulty with daily activities:

    The combination of pain and stiffness often makes it challenging to perform daily tasks – though new moms should be resting and doing very little during this healing time. Activities that were once done effortlessly, like bending, lifting, or even walking, might become cumbersome. Please note that this is a normal response the body has after childbirth and you shouldn’t rush back into usual activities right away.

Tips to Ease Postpartum Joint Pain

young woman struggling with postpartum joint pain

Exercise and stretching routines

Incorporating tailored exercise and stretching routines can be a game changer to strengthen the muscles supporting the joints and enhance flexibility, reducing stiffness. A regimen, especially designed considering the specific needs and recovery stage of new moms, can significantly mitigate any joint pain.

Proper body mechanics and posture

Attention to body mechanics and posture postpartum is key to reducing the onset of pain. Adopting ergonomic practices and maintaining an upright posture, especially during feeding, lifting the baby or even cleaning bottles, can alleviate the strain on joints.

Heat or cold therapy

The application of heat or cold packs can bring immediate relief. Cold packs are excellent for reducing inflammation, while heat relaxes the muscles and joints, enhancing blood circulation and promoting healing.

Massage and gentle manual therapy

Getting a massage isn’t just a treat (though moms definitely deserve that!) but a therapeutic approach to relax stiff muscles, enhance mobility, and alleviate pain, making postpartum recovery more comfortable.

When to Seek Professional Help

As a new mom, navigating through the myriad of changes your body undergoes is a journey of its own. While the tips mentioned can alleviate postpartum joint pain, there are times when seeking professional help is necessary. If the pain persists, intensifies, or interferes with your daily activities and quality of life, reaching out to a professional, such as a physical therapist, can provide the care and relief you need to get back to feeling like “you” again. No mom should be in pain, no matter what anyone says, you don’t have to “put up with it”.

We understand that as a new mom, your focus is naturally on your little one. However, taking care of yourself is equally important. Your well-being is essential to your ability to care for your family. You deserve a life free of pain and full of joyous moments with your baby.

If you’re ready to experience the benefits of physical therapy, click here to fill out this form and tell us more about what’s going on, and our team will be in touch. You can also give us a call here: (360) 474-3274

Andrew Vertson