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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 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 end of pregnancy, there are aspects that point at certain medical reasons as well.
What Causes Back Pain After Caesarean Delivery?
The process of caesarean delivery is accompanied by the administration of anaesthesia. 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 spasm of muscles leading to pain, but it is rarity.
The injection also causes a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid to leak. This leads to an immense headache and pain in the neck, especially if the mother sits or stands. The pain reduces while lying down. This is called post-spinal headache.
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 due to 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 spasm 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 from the pain, 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 that is felt after the anaesthesia wears off is quite intense. The headaches and neck pain due to fluid leakage is 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 worsen, 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 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 in relaxing the muscles and boosting 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 spinal headache relieves the pain faster and leads to a faster recovery.
When to Call a Doctor
Back pain after C-Section is quite normal and fades 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 lesser, 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 at some allergy. 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 get looked at by a doctor. Also consult a doctor if you feel uncoordinated at sudden intervals.
Back problems after 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.
References & Resources: Livestrong