What You Need to Know About Postpartum Upper Back Pain Treatments

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Upper back pain can be a result of many things including injuries, aging, diseases, or infections, among others. Aside from that, it can also be a result of physical changes in the body, such as those that occur during and after pregnancy. The physical pressure of the extra weight carried by the mother during pregnancy can cause pain, but other than that, there are also hormonal changes and physical responsibilities that can cause pain even after pregnancy.

So how is postpartum upper back pain treated? Treatments for postpartum upper back pain include pain relief solutions such as cortisone injections, radiofrequency neurotomy, implanted nerve stimulators, and spine surgery. With the right treatments, postpartum upper back pain will eventually subside at a faster rate.

What Upper Back Pain After Pregnancy Means

Upper back pain after pregnancy may feel like soreness or a nagging stiffness in the upper back area that’s experienced post-delivery. This is normal, and it may also feel the same for low back pain or pain in pelvic pain. In fact, most women experience this kind of upper back pain after childbirth.

During pregnancy, the abdominal pressure of carrying another human being inside the womb normally causes so many changes in a woman’s body, including postpartum pain, postpartum hemorrhage, and postpartum depression. 

Other than pain in the different areas of the body, a woman can even have rectus abdominis or diastasis recti, which is characterized as separating abdominal muscles. This occurs when the abdominal muscles are stretched from carrying the baby. 

Such pain can be experienced in the postpartum period because of the postpartum hormonal changes, changes in the physical body (e.g, pelvic floor dysfunction), as well as postpartum activities (e.g, bending and then lifting the baby) that can put an additional strain in the body, especially in the upper back. 

The extra weight gained during pregnancy and the postpartum period also puts a toll on a woman’s muscles and joints, which are also affected by hormonal changes. Taking care of the baby around the clock and breastfeeding also causes strain to the upper back, the surrounding muscles in the upper body, and the core muscles. So in general, upper back pain after pregnancy means that the body just needs more postpartum recovery period.

When Does Upper Back Pain Go Away After Pregnancy?

Postpartum back pain may last for approximately a week to a couple of months after giving birth. It may take time for a woman’s body to return to normal, so it’s essential for a woman to get proper care and ample time to heal post-delivery. Other than upper back pain, a woman may also feel shoulder pain in the shoulder blades, pelvic pain, neck pain, and lower back pain during the postpartum period.

What Happens If Chronic Upper Back Pain Increased After Pregnancy

Upper back pain after pregnancy may last for a couple of months after pregnancy and birth,, but it’s supposed to improve over time. In the event that chronic upper back pain worsens, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider for the best treatments or remedies to resolve upper back pain.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can do some simple home remedies to alleviate postpartum upper back pain. If that still doesn't work, you can try visiting a medical professional or pain specialist for more appropriate and effective treatments to ease your postpartum upper back pain.

Tips for Postpartum Pain Management

You can manage your pain at home through simple pain relief steps to avoid triggering postpartum upper back pain. Other than giving yourself time to rest, you can also try the following tips to ease postpartum upper back pain:

  • Be mindful of how you bend and lift
  • Keep your spine straight and maintain good posture, even when cooking or feeding your baby
  • Do some gentle postpartum exercises to stretch your body (e.g, pelvic tilt to improve pelvic floor muscle)
  • Have a nice warm bath
  • Have a professionally done massage
  • Elevate your feet slightly when feeding the baby or sitting
  • Don’t stand or sit for a prolonged time
  • Take the pain medication recommended by your healthcare provider

Postpartum upper back pain is part of the postpartum recovery process. Although it’s not permanent, it’s still essential to practice postpartum care by easing your responsibilities, managing your pain properly, and finding the professional help you need to relieve postpartum upper back pain.

Postpartum Upper Back Pain Relief Solutions at Gramercy Pain Center

Upper back pain after pregnancy and childbirth is a result of the trauma, stress, and strain inflicted in the body. As you give yourself some time to heal, it’s best to also seek professional help from a pain specialist. Postpartum pain management usually involves pain relief remedies and spinal cord procedures.

Pain management treatments are usually not a one-size-fits-all plan because it usually depends on the patient’s needs. You can achieve more effective pain treatment solutions with the available treatments for postpartum upper back pain at Gramercy Pain Center such as the following:

  • Cortisone Injections
  • Radiofrequency Neurotomy
  • Implanted Nerve Stimulators

1) Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections (i.e, cortisone shots) are effective pain relievers that can also reduce inflammation. This can be injected to reduce pain in certain areas of the body. Cortisone shots usually contain a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. Cortisone shots are generally safe, and they can be performed at the doctor’s office. However, because of its side effects, you can only get a limited number of injection treatments in a year.

2) Radiofrequency Rhizotomy

Radiofrequency rhizotomy (i.e, radiofrequency ablation) can also be done to ease chronic upper back pain post-delivery. This is a treatment option that’s chosen by a pain specialist for pain that can’t be eliminated with pain medication or physical therapy with a qualified physical therapist.

Using radiofrequency waves, radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical pain treatment that targets multiple nerves in a single treatment session for faster pain relief. Fluoroscopy is used to guide the hollow needle that’s punctured directly into the medial branch nerves or lateral branch nerves. Once the location of the pain has been identified, radiofrequency is sent to heat them and destroy pain signals to avoid it from reaching the brain.

3) Implanted Nerve Stimulators

Spinal cord stimulation therapy can also be chosen to relieve pain using small electrical pulses to alter pain signals as they reach into the brain. This nerve stimulation therapy is also known as dorsal root ganglion spinal cord stimulation therapy or DRG spinal cord stimulation.

The DRG system of neurostimulator has a pulse generator and generator leads, which are 2 components that are surgically implanted underneath the skin. The generator leads are usually planted in the area of the treatment site while the pulse generator may be implanted either in the abdomen or the buttocks.

The DRG stimulator is a permanent treatment, which means that this will only be recommended if there are no other plausible solutions for postpartum upper back pain. Other than the indispensable need for it, the eligibility of a patient to have the treatment would also depend on their medical history.

Post Pregnancy Upper Back Pain Management at Gramercy Pain Center

Pregnancy and childbirth can take a huge toll on a woman’s body, so ample time for postpartum recovery may be required in the healing process. Postpartum upper back pain is normal after giving birth, and most women have it. However, when it’s unmanaged or unresolved, it may lead to chronic upper back pain that may require professional help from a qualified pain specialist.

For the best pain management techniques and postpartum upper back pain care, only consult with a pain specialist from the best pain center. Here at Gramercy Pain Center, our pain doctors and spine specialists can help you determine how to best resolve your postpartum upper back pain. We also treat muscle pain (e.g, tight muscles, postural muscles), neck pain, shoulder blade pain, pelvic girdle pain, lower back pain, and other kinds of chronic pain.

Book an initial consultation with Dr. Varma or Dr. Valimahomed today and experience the best postpartum care for your upper back pain.

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