Back Pain After C-Section – Causes and Remedies
Every article that we publish, confirms to stringent guidelines & involves several levels of reviews, both from our Editorial team & Experts. We welcome your suggestions in making this platform more useful for all our users. Write in to us at email@example.com
- What Causes Back Pain After Caesarean Delivery?
- Different Types of Back Pains You Might Experience After Caesarean Delivery
- When Does Back Pain After C-Section Delivery Start?
- How Long Does Backache After C-Section Persist?
- Where Does Post-Caesarean Back Pain Occur?
- How to Deal With Back Pain Post C-Section?
- When to Call a Doctor
If a pregnant woman is suffering from certain medical conditions or if the baby is not in a viable position for a natural birth to take place, most doctors proceed to undertake a caesarean surgery to deliver the baby. While this keeps the baby safe, many women tend to suffer from lower back pain after a C-section, along with the pain that accompanies stitches and the usual surgery. Though the pain might be a result of the body coming to terms with childbirth and the end of pregnancy, there are aspects that point to certain medical reasons as well.
What Causes Back Pain After Caesarean Delivery?
The administration of anaesthesia accompanies the process of caesarean delivery. This is given to a woman in her spine via an injection. The area of the spinal cord and the surrounding portion is extremely sensitive. There might be acute spasms of muscles leading to pain, but it is a rarity. Back pain after a caesarean delivery can be caused by various factors, including:
1. Surgical procedure
The incision made during the C-section surgery can lead to pain and discomfort in the back as it heals.
The use of epidural or spinal anaesthesia during the C-section can cause back pain or discomfort.
New mothers may adopt different postures to protect the surgical site, which can strain the back muscles.
4. Muscle tension
Carrying and nursing a newborn can lead to muscle tension and back pain.
5. Hormonal changes
Pregnancy hormones can relax ligaments and affect the back’s stability.
If you’re experiencing persistent or severe back pain after a C-section, it’s essential to consult with a physiotherapist for proper evaluation and management. They can provide guidance on pain relief, exercises, and any potential underlying issues.
Different Types of Back Pains You Might Experience After Caesarean Delivery
After a caesarean delivery, it’s common for women to experience various types of back pain due to factors like surgery, hormonal changes, and postural adjustments. Here are some types of back pains, like upper back pain after c-section, you might encounter:
1. Incision Site Pain
This localised pain occurs at the C-section incision site, often during the initial days after surgery. It can radiate to the lower back and is a common post-operative discomfort.
2. Muscle Strain
The strain on the abdominal and lower back muscles caused by the surgery can lead to muscle-related back pain. It’s often felt as a dull ache or soreness.
3. Epidural-Related Pain
If an epidural or spinal anaesthesia was used during the C-section, some women might experience back pain at the injection site or nerve irritation in the lower back.
4. Upper Back Pain After C-Section
Although less common, upper back pain after a c-section can occur due to changes in posture or muscle tension when caring for the newborn. It’s important to address this discomfort alongside other types of back pain.
It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider If you experience severe or persistent back pain after a C-section for proper assessment and management.
When Does Back Pain After C-Section Delivery Start?
For a caesarean delivery, back pain after C-section begins the moment the anaesthesia’s effects start to wear off. This happens usually in a matter of around 3-6 hours, when the area where the anaesthesia was injected begins to hurt. Headache and neck pain, which are a result of leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, usually begin as early as 12 hours after the delivery. This may last even up to 7 days post surgery.
How Long Does Backache After C-Section Persist?
As with most medical procedures done correctly, the pain caused by the spinal anaesthetic fades away in a couple of days to a week. In a few cases, the pain tends to stay for multiple weeks, even ranging up to a month. The primary reason for that is acute spasms of muscles of the spinal region due to the injection. At times, the headache and neck pain can worsen to unbearable amounts. In such cases, doctors usually resort to carrying out a blood patch. This is where some blood is taken from your own body and re-injected in the area where the anaesthetic was given. That brings about relief when the back hurts after a c-section, almost instantly.
Where Does Post-Caesarean Back Pain Occur?
When it is decided that a woman needs to undergo a caesarean delivery for the child, the anaesthetic is prepped for injection. This is usually given using a spinal needle, which is placed in the lower region of the back, mostly around the area where the first vertebral bone of the lumbar region is located. This is also why the back pain after spinal anaesthesia for c-section that is felt after the anaesthesia wears off is quite intense. The headaches and neck pain due to fluid leakage are felt as a spasm from the head down to the neck.
How to Deal With Back Pain Post C-Section?
As the back pain starts becoming uncomfortable quite soon and the headaches and neck pain worsens, combined with the newfound challenges of nursing the child and helping your body recover, every woman who suffers from this wants to know how to reduce back pain after a C-section naturally, since taking medication might not be an option.
1. A Hot Bath
The adage is probably true. There is nothing in this world that cannot be fixed with a nice hot water bath. It works wonders in bringing great relief from back pain, especially of this kind. Adding bath salts to the bath water and letting them dissolve is a great idea, too. These relieve soreness in the back and make you feel re-energised pretty easily.
2. Simple Exercises
Pain is also aggravated due to the massive physical changes your body undergoes before and after delivery. A few exercises can help strengthen your body. Pilates is highly recommended in this regard since it works directly on the muscles of the abdomen. Do get your doctor’s go-ahead before you begin to do so since certain exercises might cause your stitches to rupture, leading to further complications. Simple yoga exercises or breathing exercises can help instil calm within your body as well.
3. Sleeping the Right Way
Your back could do with support of the right kind to help it recover from the pain. Make sure the mattress is plain levelled and not too soft. Certain mattresses have special foam inside them or are even air-inflated, helping them suit your body’s shape. Talk to your doctor or physician to know which mattress will bring the most relief and be suitable for your health as well.
4. Hot and Cold
Alternating cold presses with the application of warm treatment helps relax the muscles and boosts circulation in the affected area. Make use of a simple heating pad and a pack of ice to help you with it.
Having loads of water in case of a spinal headache relieves the pain faster and leads to a faster recovery.
6. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
A specialised physical therapist can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve posture, which can alleviate back pain and promote overall recovery.
7. Yoga and Pilates
These exercises can enhance core strength, flexibility, and posture, which are crucial for reducing back pain. Ensure that you consult a healthcare provider or instructor experienced in post-C-section exercise.
Some women find relief from back pain through acupuncture, a complementary therapy that involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and pain relief. Consult with a licensed acupuncturist to discuss its suitability for you.
When to Call a Doctor
Back pain after C-Section is quite normal and will fade away soon. However, in some cases, there may be other symptoms or increased pain, which warrant a consultation with your doctor. Visit a doctor immediately, if:
1. The Pain Worsens
If you feel the pain getting worse as the days go by, rather than fading, visit a doctor to make sure there is no other issue. If the pain becomes less, there is no cause for concern.
2. The Pain is Too Severe to Handle
If you are unable to handle the pain and it begins to hamper other aspects of your life, make sure to consult a doctor. He/she can diagnose any underlying cause and give you appropriate pain relief.
3. You Get a Fever
Fever can indicate an infection, which should immediately be diagnosed and treated. It can also point to some allergies. The doctor can treat the infection as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
4. Your Legs Go Numb
If one or both of your legs feel numb at any point, the situation should be looked at by a doctor. Also, consult a doctor if you feel uncoordinated at sudden intervals.
1. Can I Take Pain Medication for Back Pain After C Section?
Yes, it is generally safe to take pain medication prescribed by your healthcare provider for back pain after a C-section. They can recommend suitable options that are safe for you and won’t interfere with your recovery or breastfeeding if applicable.
2. Can Breastfeeding Contribute to Back Pain After a Caesarean Delivery?
Breastfeeding, while a natural and beneficial process, can sometimes contribute to back pain post-C-section. Poor posture during nursing or holding the baby and the strain on your back and neck muscles can lead to discomfort. Ensure proper positioning and support when breastfeeding to minimise the risk of back pain. If it persists, consult with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for guidance on improving your breastfeeding posture.
Back spasms after a c-section can get quite annoying at times, diverting you from taking care of the child and focusing on nursing. Making use of natural remedies and opting for blood patches if the pain gets too severe can help bring quick relief and help you concentrate on your journey of being a mother.
1. Overcoming Postpartum Pain; Cedars Sinai; https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/overcoming-postpartum-pain.html; November 2018
2. Breen TW, et al.; Factors associated with back pain after childbirth; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8042807; July 1994
3. Kanat. A, Kazdal. H, Ozdemir. B; Does the anesthesia technique of cesarean section cause persistent low back pain after delivery? A retrospective analysis; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9533274/; October 2022
4. Pregnancy and birth: Cesarean sections: What are the pros and cons of regional and general anesthetics?; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279566/; March 2018
5. Chia. Y, Lo. Y, Chen. Y; Risk of Chronic Low Back Pain Among Parturients Who Undergo Cesarean Delivery With Neuraxial Anesthesia; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4845853/; April 2016