This Mother’s Day, spine specialists share a few special insights on pregnancy and postpartum spinal health care.

Women's health in India, especially in the role of a primary caregiver, is often ignored; due to which they are at an additional risk of developing back pain. At an advanced age, they often suffer from different degrees of disabilities due to back pain.

Worldwide research suggests that about 50 - 80% of expecting mothers suffer from lower back pain during pregnancy. It is thus a matter of great necessity for women to prioritise their spinal health.

“During pregnancy, the uterus expands and women typically gain weight in the second trimester. Pregnancy also disturbs the natural ‘S’ curve of the spine and shifts the center of gravity. This change in posture and the weight of a growing baby compresses the discs and the nerves in the spine. Sometimes this problem doesn’t correct itself after childbirth,” says Dr. Garima Anandani, Senior Spine Specialist & Clinical Director, QI Spine Clinic.

Experts believe that it is not unusual for new mothers to experience back pain after childbirth. However, back pain not only affects the well-being of a mother but interferes with childcare too. Back pain due to pregnancy often recedes with time. But sometimes beginning a job or engaging in household work soon after childbirth doesn’t allow the body to recover completely. This can lead to serious health issues in the long run. In case the problem persists, one must see a specialist without delay, especially in the case of pregnant women. The problem could be treated through non-invasive therapies with adequate professional help post-delivery. The affected area in the spine can be regenerated with advanced, non-surgical cell regeneration therapy programs available at specialised Spine Clinics.

The causes of postpartum back pain could range from a variety of reasons, beginning from the myriad of changing hormones to changes in posture, weight and sleeping positions. Here are a few causes for postpartum back pain:

•Pregnancy hormones: During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called Relaxin that is responsible for loosening the muscles and joints to assist in childbirth which may also cause the weakening of spinal joints, ligaments and muscles leading to back pain post pregnancy.

•Postural stresses post-pregnancy: The additional amount of pressure on the spine caused by bending and lifting the baby could weaken the spine, thus leading to pain. Holding the baby in a wrong way during breastfeeding could be another cause of pain in the upper, middle and lower back.

•Sleep deprivation: A continuous lack of sleep may stress and strain the back muscles, leading to increased back and neck pain.

•Emotional stress: A number of psychological conditions that new mothers experience, ranging from anxiety to anger further aggravates their condition.

•Lack of post-pregnancy care: Weight gain post pregnancy and lack of physical activity at times is a major hindrance to the recovery of a woman’s body.

“If you had chronic backaches before you got pregnant, chances of pain during pregnancy are much higher. Hence, during and post pregnancy, don’t ignore your pain or suppress it with painkillers,” says Dr. Neha Narula, Senior Spine Specialist, QI Spine Clinic. She also suggests that mothers must adopt healthy ways to soothe back and neck pain with a hot or cold compress during pregnancy and must opt for a cell repair therapy session to rehabilitate the spine post pregnancy under the guidance of spine care medical professional.

Adequate spinal health care not only provides an enriched experience of motherhood but also aids in improving the condition of overall health in women. It is thus necessary to raise the awareness of adequate spinal health care, especially for mothers.

Here are a few methods mothers can adopt to alleviate postpartum back pain:

·Exercises: The practice of gentle exercising helps strengthen the muscles post-delivery. These exercises include core strengthening exercises, walking, deep belly breathing with abdominal contractions, kneeling pelvic tilts, kegels, yoga, head lifts, shoulder lifts and curl ups. One must consult a health care professional before starting any health care regime.

.Correct Postures: Slouching strains the spine. Maintaining correct body mechanics involves bending down from the knee while lifting the child and lifting the baby up to the breast to avoid bending or hunching while breastfeeding. While sleeping and sitting, correct postures need to be maintained. For example, one can use proper lumbar rolls while sitting and keep pillows between knee while sleeping.

·Muscle Relaxation: Muscle soreness could be soothed with a professional massage or hot compress. Also, one can engage in meditation or relaxation techniques to reduce stress.

·Protein Rich Diet: Protein inclusion in one’s diet strengthens the body, thus aiding in recovery. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, fish, meat and beans are good sources of protein for mother’s post pregnancy.

In case of excessive back pain, neck pain or radiating pain in the arm or leg, mothers must not ignore it and must consult a Spine Specialist. Spine rehabilitation is a proven way to treat postpartum sciatica and lower back pain. Cell Repair Technology and Isolation Technology for muscle repair and regeneration delivers a targeted treatment and faster recovery of the soft muscle tissue affected during pregnancy. They are non-invasive and drug-free treatments and are hence safe and effective.