10 Effective Ways to Reduce Back Pain after C-Section

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Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 5 June 2023
10 Effective Ways to Reduce Back Pain after C-Section

Giving birth to a baby is a miraculous experience, but the physical toll it takes on a woman’s body can be immense. Back pain after a C-section can be an excruciating experience for new mothers. The joy of having a baby can quickly be overshadowed by the discomfort and inability to carry out daily activities.

Whether sharp or dull, this pain can linger for months, affecting your mood, sleep, and overall quality of life. But fear not; there are different ways to manage and alleviate the pain so that you can focus on enjoying motherhood. The following blog discusses how to reduce back pain after a C-section naturally. Continue reading to know how you can relieve some of your discomforts.

What is a C-Section?

A C-section, also known as a cesarean section, is a surgical method employed to deliver a baby. It involves making a cut in the mother's abdomen and uterus to bring out the baby safely.

Doctors opt for a C-section when a normal vaginal birth is not feasible or poses risks to the mother or baby. Some common reasons for a C-section include foetal distress, prolonged labour, breech presentation (the baby’s feet- or bottom-first in the uterus), multiple pregnancies, and certain medical conditions. 

The procedure is usually done under regional anaesthesia, such as an epidural or spinal block, and requires longer recovery than vaginal delivery. One common side-effect of a C-section delivery is back pain.

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Causes of Back Pain After a C-Section

While a C-section delivery can be a lifesaver for both mother and baby, it can come with its own set of challenges. You may have expected some discomfort from the incision, but you may also encounter a lot of pain and ache after giving birth. But why back pain after C-section is experienced by mothers? 

There isn’t a single cause of upper or lower back pain after a C-section, but rather several plausible explanations, which include:

  1. Hormonal Changes: One lesser-known cause of back pain after a C-section is hormonal changes. 
    1. During pregnancy, the body produces high hormone levels like progesterone and relaxin. 
    2. These hormones help relax the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis to prepare for childbirth. However, these hormones can also cause the muscles and ligaments in the back to become more relaxed, leading to pain and discomfort, even with the slightest movement. 
  2. Weight Gain: Growing a whole new person inside yourself is undoubtedly the most precious feeling but also the most common cause of weight gain and back pain after a C-section. 
    1. During pregnancy, women typically gain weight to support the growing foetus, shifting the centre of balance by carrying so much weight in the abdominal region. As a result, this places extra stress on the back muscles and spine, leading to back pain. 
  3. Lifting and Carrying the Newborn: As new moms adjust to caring for their little ones, lifting and carrying a newborn can significantly cause back pain after a C-section. 
    1. While the baby may only be about 2.5 to 3.5 kg (which does not seem like a lot!), this is the extra weight you carry in your arms daily. 
    2. Moreover, repeatedly bending down and picking up the baby from the crib, car seat, and stroller may cause strain on the muscles in the neck and back, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  4. Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is great for bonding with the baby, but it can also cause back pain after a C-section. 
    1. The physical demands of breastfeeding can strain the neck, causing pain that radiates to the back. 
    2. The awkward postures and positions required for breastfeeding, such as leaning over to position the baby, can exacerbate the problem. 
    3. Additionally, prolonged periods of sitting or lying down during breastfeeding sessions can cause the back muscles to become tense and sore. 
  5. Anaesthesia Effects: While anaesthesia is essential to a C-section, its effects can also cause back pain after the procedure. 
    1. Spinal anaesthesia, the most common type used for C-sections, can cause temporary numbness and weakness in the legs, making it difficult to move and change positions.
    2. It can lead to muscle spasms near your spinal cord after delivery, lasting for weeks or months.

How to Get Rid of Back Pain After C-Section?

While the joy of motherhood is permanent, back pain after a C-section is only temporary, with the pain gradually decreasing in the coming days, weeks, and months after delivery. 

If you struggle with back pain after a C-section, learn some tips and tricks for finding relief and returning to feeling like yourself again! Wondering how to reduce back pain after a C-section? Here’s how:

  1. Avoid Bending Over to Lift Your Baby: When you become a new mom, it's natural to spend a significant amount of time bending over to take care of your baby, but this can also contribute to back pain after a C-section. 
    1. Instead of bending over to pick up your baby from the crib or changing table, try to squat down using your legs to lift your body weight. 
    2. This will reduce strain on your back muscles and spine. Or, you can ask your partner to pick up the baby from the stroller, crib, or car seat. 
    3. Furthermore, you can use a baby carrier or wrap to keep your baby snugly attached to your body. This way, you won't have to bend forward or strain your back while holding them.
    4. Remember, taking small steps like this can make a significant difference in reducing back pain and helping you feel more comfortable during your recovery.
  2. Perform Gentle Exercises: If you are wondering how to avoid back pain after a C-section, gentle exercises can be a game-changer. 
    1. Exercise helps strengthen your core muscles, supporting your back and improving your posture. It's important to begin with easy exercises and gradually make them more challenging as your body gets better.
    2. Walking, swimming, and postpartum yoga are all great options. Doing these exercises can make you more flexible, improve blood flow in your body, make your abdominal muscles stronger, and help relax tense muscles in your back.
    3. Additionally, these exercises can help relieve stress and anxiety and improve your mood, which is essential for new moms. So, to avoid back pain after a C-section, consider incorporating some gentle exercises into your daily routine.
  3. Keep Your Back Straight During Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can be one of the major causes of back pain after a C-section if not done correctly. 
    1. One of the best ways to avoid back pain is by keeping your back straight while breastfeeding. 
    2. Hold your baby at the same height as your breast to avoid bending forward or straining your neck.
    3. Sit in a cosy chair or use a breastfeeding pillow to provide support for your baby's weight.
    4. Keeping your back straight can help reduce pressure on your spine and muscles, reducing the risk of back pain. Remember, breastfeeding should be a comfortable and enjoyable experience, so do not hesitate to adjust your position if you feel any discomfort. 
  4. Take a Hot, Soothing Bath: Are you struggling to find for a relaxing technique to reduce back pain after a C-section? You may just need a hot bath! 
    1. The warm water helps to improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension and soothe sore muscles. 
    2. Add Epsom salts or essential oils like lavender to your bath to enhance healing. However, since C-section is surgery, do not take a bath until your doctor gives you the green light. 
    3. Additionally, bathing is an excellent opportunity for new moms to have some much-needed “me time.” Taking a bath is a great way to relax and take a break, allowing you to relieve stress and anxiety while improving your overall health and well-being. 
    4. If you have no time, you may still enjoy similar benefits by letting hot water flow over your back in the shower or using a heating pad.
  5. Allow Your Body to Rest: Rest is one of the most effective, efficient and natural ways to reduce back pain after a C-section. 
    1. Giving the body enough time to recover is crucial after surgery. 
    2. It is best to avoid standing or walking for extended periods. 
    3. Avoiding activities that strain your back and taking frequent breaks to rest can help reduce inflammation and soreness, giving your body the time it needs to recover fully. 
    4. Make sure to focus on getting good sleep because it's important for your body to heal and recover. To relieve pressure on your lower back, sleep on your side and place a cushion between your knees. 
    5. Remember that rest is an essential part of the healing process, and taking the time to rest is one of the best ways how to reduce back pain after a C-section naturally.
  6. Get a Relaxing Massage: Massage is an amazing way to relieve back pain after a C-section.
    1. The gentle pressure and kneading of a massage can help boost blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation. 
    2. Additionally, massage can help release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, relieving discomfort. 
    3. A professional massage therapist can use techniques specifically designed for post-C-section recovery, such as lymphatic drainage massage, which can help reduce swelling and promote healing. 
    4. However, if professional massage is not an option, self-massage can also be beneficial. You can ask your partner to gently massage your back muscles using a tennis ball or foam roller to reduce tension. 
    5. Adding aromatherapy oils like peppermint or eucalyptus to your massage can enhance healing, providing a soothing and refreshing experience.
  7. Alternate Between Hot and Cold Therapy: Hot and cold therapy can have amazing benefits in relieving back pain after a C-section. 
    1. A cold compress can numb the area, reduce inflammation, and provide a refreshing relief. 
    2. Conversely, the soothing warmth of a hot pack helps relax tense muscles, increase blood flow, and ease discomfort. 
    3. Place a cold compress on your lower back when you experience back pain after a C-section. Make sure to cover the bag of ice with a towel to prevent frostbite. After a few days, switch to heating therapy to soothe your back.  
    4. By alternating between these therapies, you can create a refreshing dance of heat and cold that helps calm your post-C-section back pain, leaving you feeling revitalised and ready to embrace motherhood with comfort.
  8. Take Pain Medications to Manage Discomfort: Pain medications can be a helping way to reduce back pain after a C-section. 
    1. Your doctor will prescribe medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help manage pain and discomfort. 
    2. These medications can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and promote faster healing. However, it is crucial to follow the doctor’s instructions when taking any medication and avoid anything not prescribed or recommended by your healthcare provider. 
    3. By combining different strategies and working closely with your doctor, you can find the best ways to manage lower back pain after a C-section and support a smoother recovery process.

Exercises and Stretches to Reduce Back Pain After a C-Section

A C-section can cause back pain due to the stress placed on the abdominal muscles during the surgery. However, gentle exercises can help alleviate the pain. 
With regular exercise and proper posture, you can regain strength, flexibility and return to your pre-pregnancy self. However, always consult a healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine. Some easy exercises and stretches to reduce back pain after a C-section include:

  1. Downward-Facing Dog: It is a yoga pose that can help alleviate back pain after a C-section. This exercise helps stretch the back, hamstrings, and calves while strengthening the arms and shoulders, alleviating tension in the lower back. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:
    1. Get on all fours.
    2. Ensure your wrists align with your shoulders and your knees are positioned below your hips.
    3. Spread your fingers wide and firmly place your palms on the ground. 
    4. Bend your toes and raise your hips while straightening your legs as much as possible.
    5. To create the right shape, your body should make an upside-down V.
    6. Maintain the pose for a few deep breaths.
    7. Release and return to the starting position.
  2. Child’s Pose: The child’s pose exercise can help reduce back pain after a C-section by gently stretching the lower back muscles, hips, and thighs. It can also help release tension in the neck and shoulders. 
    1. By practising child’s pose regularly, women who have had a C-section can improve their flexibility, increase blood flow to the area, and reduce muscle tightness, which can help alleviate back pain. 
    2. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:
      1. Get down on all fours.
      2. Ensure your knees are positioned below your hips, and your wrists are aligned with the shoulders.
      3. Slowly lower your hips towards your heels while extending your arms forward.
      4. Rest your forehead on the ground or use a prop for support if it feels more comfortable.
      5. Take deep breaths and hold your position for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute or as long as you find comfortable.
      6. Slowly return to a kneeling position.
  3. Cow Pose: Cow pose is a yoga pose that involves arching the back and stretching the spine. It can help alleviate back pain by increasing the spine’s flexibility and strengthening the muscles supporting the lower back. 
    1. Combined with cat pose, it can form a gentle and effective exercise routine to help reduce back pain after a C-section. 
    2. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:
      1. Get on all fours.
      2. Ensure your wrists align with your shoulders and your knees are positioned below your hips.
      3. Inhale and tilt your pelvis forward.
      4. Lift your tailbone towards the ceiling.
      5. Arch your back, raising your head and chest towards the ceiling.
      6. Keep your shoulders back and your ears apart while remaining relaxed.
      7. As much as you can, bring your shoulder blades together.
      8. For a few breaths, maintain the position.
      9. Slowly exhale and return to a neutral spine position.
      10. Repeat the sequence for several repetitions.
      11. Coordinate the movements with your breath.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Back Pain After a C-Section

Although back pain after a C-section is common, and many mothers experience it, certain lifestyle changes may help lower the risk of forming this pain. If you are wondering how to avoid back after a C-section, consider making these lifestyle changes:

  1. Maintain Good Posture:  To maintain good posture, it's important to stand and sit up straight, keeping your shoulders back and chin tucked in. When sitting, make sure to use a chair that provides proper support for your back.
  2. Exercise Regularly: Doing simple activities like taking walks or doing gentle stretches can make your back muscles stronger and improve the way you stand and sit.
  3. Take Breaks: If you stand or sit for long periods, you must take regular breaks to move around and stretch your back.
  4. Lift and Carry Carefully: Use your legs instead of your back when lifting your baby or other objects. Avoid twisting or bending while carrying anything heavy.
  5. Avoid High Heels: Wearing high heels can throw off your posture and put added strain on your back. Stick to comfortable, supportive shoes with a low heel.
  6. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Carrying extra weight adds strain to your back. You should maintain a healthy weight by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

How Long Does Back Pain Last After a C-Section?

The duration of back pain after a C-section can vary from one female to another and depends on several factors, such as the woman’s pain tolerance capacity, the extent of the surgery, and the recovery process. 

After a C-section, many women typically have back pain for a few weeks to a couple of months. However, some women may continue to experience discomfort for several months or longer. 

It is essential to discuss any prolonged or severe pain with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate treatment and management options. Moreover, if you are thinking about how to reduce back pain after a C-section naturally, there are also certain ways for the same. 

When to See a Doctor?

After a C-section, it's common to have some back pain. However, if you observe any of these signs, it's important to see a doctor:

  1. Very intense or getting worse back pain that keeps you from sleeping at night.
  2. Pain that doesn't go away even with medication or other pain relief methods.
  3. Feeling numbness or tingling in your back or legs.
  4. Difficulty standing or walking
  5. Difficulty moving or holding your baby
  6. Fever or other signs of infection 

These symptoms may indicate a serious underlying condition or complication, such as an infection or nerve damage. If you experience any of these abovementioned symptoms, you must consult a healthcare provider immediately to determine the best treatment and ensure your recovery is on track. 

Takeaway

Back pain after a C-section can be challenging but not impossible to manage. You can significantly reduce discomfort by following the abovementioned tips and making small lifestyle changes. Remember to prioritise rest and self-care to allow your body to heal properly. With patience and persistence, you can return to feeling like yourself again, free from the burden of back pain after a C-section.

If you are still experiencing back pain after trying these methods, it is important to seek medical attention. HexaHealth, a leading healthcare provider, can help you understand how to get rid of back pain after a C-section by providing personalised treatment plans, expert advice, and support throughout your recovery journey. Do not let back pain hold you back from enjoying motherhood - reach out to HexaHealth TODAY!

Suggested Reads,

Pregnancy Care Backache Treatment
Complications of Pregnancy Backache

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common causes of back pain after a C-section?

Back pain after a C-section can be caused due to several reasons. Some common causes include hormonal changes, weight gain, lifting and carrying a newborn, breastfeeding, effects of anaesthesia, and poor posture.

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How to reduce back pain after a C-section naturally?

If you are wondering how to reduce back pain after a C-section naturally, the following tips can help:

  1. Avoid bending over
  2. Do gentle exercises
  3. Maintain good posture while breastfeeding
  4. Take a hot bath
  5. Give yourself adequate rest
  6. Get a massage
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How long does back pain last after a C-section?

Back pain after a C-section can last a few days to several weeks; in some cases, it can persist for several months. The duration and severity of the pain depend on various factors, including the woman’s health, the type of surgery, and the recovery process.

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Why do I have back pain 1 year after a C-section?

Back pain 1 year after a C-section could be due to several factors like poor posture, lifting heavy objects incorrectly, weight gain, or muscle weakness. It is best to visit a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

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How to avoid back pain after a C-section?

Some ways to avoid back pain after a C-section include maintaining good posture, avoiding heavy lifting, gentle exercises, and getting adequate rest. It is also vital to consult a doctor if the pain persists.

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What exercises can help alleviate back pain after a C-section?

Gentle exercises such as pelvic tilts, walking, pilates, and postpartum yoga can help alleviate back pain after a C-section. One must consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise routine.

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How can proper posture help reduce back pain after a C-section?

Maintaining proper posture while sitting, standing, and lifting can help prevent strain on the back muscles, reducing the risk of back pain after a C-section. Avoid slouching or bending over. Instead, keep the back straight and use the legs when lifting objects or the baby.

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What are some home remedies that can be used to alleviate back pain after a C-section?

Some home remedies that can alleviate back pain after a C-section include applying heat or cold compress, taking a warm bath, getting enough rest, practising good posture, doing gentle exercises, and getting a massage. However, it is always important to consult a doctor before trying new remedies.

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Is it safe to use heat therapy to alleviate back pain after a C-section?

Heat therapy with a heating pad (set on low) or warm compresses can be safe and effective for alleviating back pain after a C-section. However, you must follow proper safety precautions. Avoid applying heat directly to the incision site and limit the duration of heat therapy to prevent burns. Always consult a healthcare provider before using heat therapy or any other form of pain relief.

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How can chiropractic care help reduce back pain after a C-section?

Chiropractic care can help reduce back pain after a C-section by addressing misalignments in the spine and pelvis that may have occurred during pregnancy and delivery. A chiropractor can use gentle adjustments to realign the spine, relieve pressure on nerves, and improve overall spinal function, which can help alleviate spinal back pain after a C-section and other related symptoms.

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Can massage therapy help alleviate back pain after a C-section?

Yes, massage therapy can help alleviate back pain after a C-section by increasing blood flow and circulation to the affected area, reducing muscle tension, and promoting relaxation. However, you must consult a healthcare provider or a licensed massage therapist to ensure safety and effectiveness.

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How to get rid of back pain after a C-section?

Some ways to get rid of back pain after a C-section include maintaining proper posture, doing gentle exercises, getting adequate rest, using heat or cold therapy, getting a massage, taking prescribed pain medications, and seeking medical attention if the pain persists.

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Does diet help in reducing lower back pain after a C-section?

No specific diet can directly help reduce lower back pain after a C-section. However, maintaining a healthy diet with adequate vitamins and nutrients can support overall health and potentially aid the healing process.

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When should I seek medical help for back pain after a C-section?

Medical attention should be immediately sought if the back pain after a C-section is severe, persistent, or accompanied by fever or numbness, as it could be a sign of infection or nerve damage. Similarly, consulting a doctor is advisable if pain medication or home remedies are not providing relief.

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Why back pain after C-section?

Back pain after a C-section can occur for several reasons, such as the incision made during the surgery, using anaesthesia, muscle strain from caring for a newborn, and poor posture during breastfeeding. The baby’s weight during pregnancy can also cause changes in the mother’s centre of gravity, leading to back pain. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after delivery can also contribute to muscle and joint pain.

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References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


  1. Cleveland Clinic. C-Section (Cesarean Birth): Procedure & Risks [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. 2022.link
  2. Is It Normal to Have Back Pain After a C-Section? [Internet]. Healthline. 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 5]. link
  3. Cronkleton E. The 10 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain [Internet]. Healthline. Healthline Media; 2017.link

Updated on : 5 June 2023

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HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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