Postpartum Joint Pain – Causes and How to Manage
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Pregnancy exposes you to a variety of information about your own body, allowing you to come to terms with the changes that have taken place in the entire period. However, there are a bunch of other changes that occur after delivery of the child as well. Many mothers experience pain in their hips, even after surgery, and discover that the weird wobbly feeling in the knees persists, even after the baby is out of their womb. Joint pain after giving birth is yet another persistent and acute pain that can make one feel old all of a sudden.
What Is Postpartum Arthritis?
A type of arthritis that can develop after pregnancy is known as postpartum arthritis. Factors like having a history of arthritis, being overweight, or having certain medical conditions (such as diabetes), can increase a woman’s chance of developing postpartum arthritis. It is most common in women over the age of 40.
Is It Normal to Have Joint Pain After Giving Birth?
Yes, you can experience joint pain post-delivery. The pain can occur in any joint, like the knees, hips, and hands. Joint pain can be mild to severe and accompanied by other symptoms like stiffness, swelling, and redness.
What Causes Post Delivery Joint Pain?
These are some reasons why mothers face joint pain after delivery.
- The primary reason most mothers face acute joint pain post delivery is the weight gain that occurs during pregnancy. The baby’s weight keeps increasing throughout the pregnancy and the body tries its best to carry this weight around. The pain is a result of the body coming to terms with the completion of delivery.
- Certain mothers are more susceptible to joint pain post pregnancy due to problems such as chronic pain and arthritis. This further adds to joint pain.
- If you have previously suffered injuries to the joint and tailbone, these can turn into extreme joint pain after delivery of the baby.
- There are hormones secreted during pregnancy and delivery that are important for the safety of the mother and baby. These hormones cause the body ligaments to relax, allowing the mother to carry the baby’s weight around and undertake a successful delivery. Once the delivery is complete, the ligaments require some time to return to their original position. This, consequentially, results in joint pain.
- If a woman does not exercise regularly during pregnancy or if she faces issues related to health or injuries that prevent her from exercising, the risk of experiencing joint pain after delivery is quite high.
Areas Where You Can Experience Joint Pain
Following are the areas where you can experience joint pain:
1. Hips and Pelvis
Joint pain in the hips and pelvis is common post-delivery due to the relaxation of ligaments and the pressure exerted during childbirth.
2. Lower Back
After childbirth, some women may experience joint pain in the knees due to changes in weight distribution and altered gait patterns.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Joint Pain After Childbirth?
As with any kind of recovery, the recovery duration highly depends upon the health of a person. On a general level, joint related pains last for a bunch of weeks or so. In certain extreme cases, they have been known to last for four to six months as well. If a mother has had a good pregnancy along with a healthy delivery and can return to a proper eating habit and dietary recommendations, paired with a proper exercise structure, her chances of recovering from the pain are higher. With better care post delivery and addressing previous conditions of injuries and health, this time duration can be further reduced.
While nursing the baby, care needs to be taken to maintain a proper breastfeeding posture, not lifting the baby from a very low position, holding the baby comfortably, and holding the baby for shorter periods of time. Not taking care of these can aggravate joint pains and cause sacroiliac joint pain after pregnancy.
There is no specific postpartum joint pain treatment process, as such. However, certain measures and remedies can help reduce pain.
- Do light exercises on a regular basis. These do not have to be formal exercises, since the key is to keep your body active. This is elementary in controlling joint pain. Exercises that do not put pressure on the joints should be preferred, such as swimming. In any case, it is best to have a consultation with an expert before adhering to any exercise schedule.
- One can resort to the classic hot and cold technique to take care of the pain. Making use of hot water bags, going for a hot water bath in a tub, and using ice packs to alleviate the pain in the joints can bring gradual relief. Do not use hot bags or ice packs directly on naked skin. Wrap them in a towel and then apply it to the affected area.
- Nothing beats a fantastic body massage. Massage your joints yourself or hire an expert who can give you a great massage. You may use certain oils or ointments that are known to reduce joint pain.
- There have been cases where certain women have found great relief from joint pain by resorting to techniques of acupuncture. These may be done right at home if you are well-versed with them. Else, it is always recommended to take your doctor’s or an expert’s advice.
- Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can be beneficial for managing arthritis. On the other hand, it has been observed that refraining from consuming processed meat, alcohol, coffee, and oily foods can help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis after pregnancy.
- Keep a healthy weight to lessen joint tension. Losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial if you are who are overweight.
- Arthritis symptoms can be easily managed by calcium and vitamin D intake while participating in activities like yoga, stretching, and balance exercises. These measures can help improve joint flexibility, reduce stiffness, and enhance overall joint function, leading to better arthritis management.
When to Visit the Doctor?
If the pain is persistent or worsens, you must see the doctor as it indicates an underlying health condition needing treatment.
1. Can Joint Paint After Pregnancy Affect Future Pregnancies?
Certain medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis have been linked to reduced fertility. Additionally, treatment options are restricted during pregnancy, increasing the likelihood of flare-ups after childbirth. As a result, seeking medical advice before planning future pregnancies is advisable.
2. Does Joint Pain After Childbirth Go Away?
Arthritis, whether before or after pregnancy, is a condition without a cure. As a result, the primary approach to address it involves pain limitation and symptom management.
3. Can Stress in Pregnancy Increase the Risk of Joint Pain After Delivery?
No medical evidence indicates a relationship between stress and the development of arthritis in mothers after pregnancy. However, first-time mothers may feel generally stressed or the post-partum blues after a few weeks of delivery. Therefore, feel free to contact your family to help you.
All the pains and aches that occur after delivery are a part of the natural process that happen throughout pregnancy. The body has undergone a huge change in nine months, with extreme conditions throughout pregnancy. Once you give it good time to recover and balance relaxation and activity in the right manner, the pain will start subsiding and bring you relief. In case the pain worsens or you start observing changes in your body that you haven’t seen before, get in touch with your doctor to rule out any postpartum complications or get pain relief treatments.
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