From the team at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists (IPRMS) in Arlington, Virginia, congratulations on the arrival of your new baby! Our providers want you to enjoy this special time, not feel plagued by pain.
If you’re experiencing musculoskeletal pain after childbirth, you’re not alone. Many new mothers face this challenge, and it’s important to understand why it happens so you can best determine what to do about it.
Board-certified pain providers Talal Ghazal, MD, and John Huffman, MD, and the team specialize in providing effective relief to women in Northern Virginia struggling with postpartum pain.
We’ve put together this guide with some of the top reasons you might be dealing with musculoskeletal pain postpartum and the ways our interventional pain and regenerative medicine therapies can help.
1. Hormonal changes
During pregnancy and after childbirth, your body experiences significant hormonal fluctuations. Hormones, like relaxin, help your body prepare for birth by allowing the muscles, ligament, and joints to relax and become more flexible. But this can lead to joint instability and pain after giving birth.
Interventional pain treatments, such as targeted joint injections, can provide relief. Your IPRMS provider may also suggest regenerative medicine approaches like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which uses components of your blood to promote healing and reduce inflammation in the affected joints.
2. Physical strain of childbirth
There’s no doubt about it—childbirth is a physically demanding process! It can strain your muscles and ligaments, leading to pain, especially in the back and pelvic area.
Physical therapy is a great start, focusing on strengthening and stabilizing the affected areas. For more targeted relief, you might consider epidural steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain around the spine and pelvic nerves.
3. Posture problems
Caring for a newborn often leads to poor posture during activities like breastfeeding or lifting your baby. This can cause musculoskeletal pain in the neck, shoulders, and back.
Ergonomic adjustments are key. Your IPRMS interventional pain specialist can recommend specific posture-improving techniques and may suggest myofascial therapies, like trigger point injections, to relieve muscle knots and pain.
4. Stress and fatigue
The stress and fatigue of caring for a newborn can make any musculoskeletal pain you’re experiencing worse. This is because when you're tired, your body's ability to manage pain decreases.
The good news is that managing your stress and working to improve your sleep can help you better manage stress-related pain. For women with severe or persistent trouble, regenerative medicine approaches, like stem cell therapy, can promote healing and pain relief.
5. Weight gain and associated strain
Pregnancy often leads to weight gain, sometimes significant weight gain. This additional weight places extra stress on your body's musculoskeletal system, especially your spine, hips, and knees.
In addition, the added weight of your baby and those extra pounds change your center of gravity. This can shift your posture, leading to muscle imbalances and joint pain.
A holistic approach involving diet, exercise, and physical therapy can be helpful in managing weight-related musculoskeletal pain. For persistent or severe pain, interventional therapies like joint injections can be highly effective in providing relief and improving your mobility.
6. Changes in your pelvic floor
Pregnancy and childbirth put significant pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, often leading to their weakening or even causing damage. This weakening can cause a lack of support for the pelvic organs, contributing to instability and pain in the pelvic area.
Additionally, the strain of childbirth, particularly if you had a vaginal delivery, can stretch or tear these muscles. This damage further changes the pelvic floor and can make your symptoms worse.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is highly effective for strengthening these muscles and improving their function. Alongside this, regenerative medicine treatments, like PRP therapy, can help your body repair and strengthen the weakened tissues, giving you relief from discomfort and pain.
Getting help for postpartum musculoskeletal pain
The providers at IPRMS want you to enjoy your time as a new mother—without the added burden of persistent pain. If you’re struggling with postpartum musculoskeletal discomfort, it’s time to talk to one of our specialists.
Our providers are equipped with a range of therapies and treatments, from traditional pain management techniques to innovative regenerative medicine approaches. Your specialist creates a personalized care plan tailored to your specific needs and preferences.
Don’t suffer with persistent postpartum musculoskeletal pain. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia and find effective relief.