By Michael Gleason
Can Yoga help women suffering with postpartum back pain? The literal meaning of yoga is to join or to yoke. And after a life-changing event, such as giving birth, resuming your yoga practice is very important in order for a mother to feel whole again – especially in the singular sense. During the postpartum segment of young motherhood is the reality of back pain or discomfort. First, a mother has been carrying a baby whilst the embryo developed into an infant. Second, the care for an infant includes nursing, skin-to-skin contact in order to bond, and rocking. At the end of each day or, as often the case, another series of nursing, changing, or lulling but in the middle of the night. In addition to postpartum yoga – for the sake of appreciating the immediate benefits – there will be postures to help with any potential back pain.
Midway through the pregnancy the female anatomy releases a series of hormones including Relaxin. While other hormones focus on the production of breast milk and the mother’s metabolism per eating for two. It is Relaxin that literally relaxes a pregnant woman’s muscles, joints, and ligaments. This includes the joints around the cervix, uterus, and pelvis. Because the back of the hip cradle is practically the start of the backbone and spine regions it stands to reason that, after pregnancy and the Relaxin subsides, mother’s will get a sore back.
A practical approach to address this postpartum back pain is some standard yet modified yoga postures. Remember, a mother’s body has been stretched out to accommodate the carrying and birthing so take care when getting into yoga or Pilates. Sally Susinno, RYT-200 of Wellesley, Mass noted that the abs and core muscles will also be stretched, too. Therefore sucking in the stomach muscles will make the most sense. This also bring strength to the back region and will make lifting the baby as she/he matures through toddlerhood that much easier.
Once back on the mat keep these in mind:
– Do pull-in exercises per the care and concern for the abdominal region, this will impact the back, too
– Definitely get into plank pose but keep the abs sucked in
– Get into side plan and keep your body low and stay on your hip, you will feel it in your core
– Cobra, locust, and bow poses will also help address postpartum back pain especially because a mother’s ab muscles are now much longer
Locust pose is also good for postpartum back pain. It does require, however, for students to be mindful of how much opening one does of the lower back. Additionally, while it has many other benefits, avoid the Cobbler Pose post-natal as it may be too much strain on the back. Cobbler Pose in the future will certainly help with flat feet and has other potential benefits for women.
Lastly, consider doing a pyramid pose (also called runner’s triangle) but with great care. Doing so will have the following positive results:
– Hips are in line while legs are split, this by itself will release tightness from holding the baby
– Getting out of the pose also helps as it requires focusing on pulling in or resuming that “sucking in” the core and abdominal muscles
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