As a nursing mother, there is so much to juggle in the first few months after giving birth. Sleepless nights, diaper changes, finding a good nanny or maid, hosting visitors and guests are a few of the things to contend with externally. Internally and often neglected are the body pains and musculoskeletal dysfunction your body may be experiencing.
The most common type of pain mothers experience occur in in the upper back, neck and shoulder. Though these three body parts are located close to each other, pain or dysfunction in them can occur separately or at the same time. If left unattended to, pain in one area can spread to another. For instance, a mother struggling with upper back pain may develop neck pain if she does not manage the upper back pain properly.
Upper back pain: It usually extends from the upper spine around the thoracic level upwards towards the base of the neck. There may even be palpable knots around the shoulder blades and muscles. It typically occurs as a result of imbalance in the muscles because the shoulders roll forward and shorten the chest wall while the upper back muscles lengthen and become weak.
Common causes of upper back pain in breast feeding mothers
From our conversations with mothers which we have helped in the past, using baby carriers for prolonged periods, having to carry too many items-diaper bags, baby, car seats, constantly carrying baby on one side of the body and not sitting properly lead to repititive stress on the back and tension build up. There is also the psychological stress associated with nursing and mothers who are stressed may find themselves bottling up a lot of emotions which invariably lead to tension in the upper back.
Guidelines for managing upper back pain in nursing mothers
There are a few guidelines which can be helpful in reducing the pain while breast feeding. For instance, ensuring your baby has a good latch when breastfeeding is essential and this is usually taught in most ante-natal classes. Below are a few other suggestions:
- Support putting a small pillow in the back would help to minimise the occurrence of back pain while nursing.
- Remember that your joints and ligaments are still very flexible because of the pregnancy hormones so you do not want to place unnecessary stress on the already stretched joints.
- Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Yes, we understand that it is easier said than done but nursing mothers need to carve out time to sleep themselves as some research suggests that muscle repair and anabolic growth takes place during the (Random Eye Movement) REM part of sleep.
Treatment for Upper Back Pain
Do you want treatment for upper back pain in pregnancy and while nursing without using pain medications? Physiotherapists have received extensive training on managing pain without using medications. We know that nursing mothers are reluctant to use pain medications out of concern of it affecting the breastmilk being fed to the baby.
PhysioCraft treatment protocol of managing upper back pain in nursing mothers and pregnant women includes but not limited to using thermotherapy, muscle facilitation and inhibition techniques, soft tissue manipulation and mobilisation of the trunk.
If you have any questions, why don’t you give us a call on +2348035670888 or +2348171940921 and we’d be happy to answer all your questions and direct you appropriately for FREE. Below are pictures of a few strecthes which may also help.
Using a firm object and locating it around the region of discomfort on the spine is important
Don’t forget to lift and lower your head and neck accordingly.