As a new mother, I had my hands full with a new baby and dealing with the constant feedings and baby care. What I thankfully did not have to deal with joint pain after pregnancy. Though for some this absence of pain could be due to genetic factors, I also have the wisdom of the older ladies of the household to thank for this. Post-pregnancy is the time to give your body rest and allow it to recover from 9 months of change and the gruelling process of labour and delivery.
All new mothers are not so lucky. Some of them experience debilitating joint pain, especially in the legs, arms and lower back. We share with you the care you can take at home to avoid this:
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Causes of joint pain after pregnancy:
- Relaxin is a hormone which is secreted during pregnancy and delivery. This hormone causes the body ligaments to relax, allowing the mother to carry the baby’s weight around and undertake a successful delivery. Once the delivery is complete, the ligaments require some time to return to their original position. This, consequently, results in joint pain.
- Depletion of nutrients in a mother’s body during pregnancy is another cause of joint pain. Deficiency of magnesium and calcium can lead to joint pain.
- Another reason for acute joint pain post delivery is the pregnancy weight gain. While you are pregnant, the baby’s weight keeps increasing and the body tries it’s best to carry the weight around. The pain is the result of the body coming to terms with the completion of the delivery.
- In case the mother already suffers from arthritis or chronic pain, these get worse post delivery.
- Any pre-existing injuries in the joints or bones can turn to extreme joint pain after delivery of the baby.
- If the woman has not remained active or exercised while pregnant or had health issues that prevented her from exercising, there are higher chances of her experiencing joint pain post delivery.
How to treat joint pain after pregnancy at home?
A postpartum body needs time to heal and recover which is why traditionally women were confined to their homes for complete rest for 40 days post-delivery. This tradition is fading away with the rise of nuclear families and busy lifestyles. Give your body the much-needed rest and allow it time to recover naturally.
After the resting period is over, undertake regular, light exercises. Go for exercises that do not put pressure on your already achy joints like light yoga or swimming. You could hire a personal trainer or yoga practitioner to guide you. Embark on any sort of exercises after getting your doctor’s go ahead. Your doctor too could be able to recommend light exercises.
#3. Hot / Cold packs:
You can seek relief from joint pain after pregnancy by using the classic hot and cold technique. Make use of hot water bags, soak in a hot water bathtub or use ice packs to alleviate the pain in the joints. Do not use hot bags or ice packs directly on the naked skin. Wrap them in a towel and then apply it to the area that hurts. You could use Epsom bath salts as they facilitate easy absorption of magnesium through the skin. Joint pain is often associated with low levels of magnesium.
How to Use:
Mix two cups of Epsom salt in warm bath water. Soak in it for about 20 minutes. Repeat three times a week until you get relief from your joint pain.
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In many regions in India, women postpartum have been given hot oil massages by trained doulas. This prevents joint pain and aids in postpartum recovery. You could massage your joints yourself or hire an expert. You may use certain oils or ointments that are known to control joint pain.
Garlic is rich in sulfur and selenium. Sulfur helps relieve joint pain and inflammation and selenium may have an anti-rheumatic effect and help arthritic patients as they tend to have low levels of selenium in the blood.
- Include garlic in your everyday diet. You can either consume two or three raw garlic cloves daily or cook it with your meals.
- You can also fry two garlic cloves in two tablespoons of mustard or sesame oil. When the cloves turn black, turn off the heat and strain the oil. Allow the oil to cool until it is comfortably warm, and then massage it into the area of pain. Leave it on for about three hours before washing it off. Do this twice daily until you see improvement.
#6. Fenugreek (methi):
Fenugreek is a popular home remedy for joint pain due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Take one teaspoon of powdered fenugreek seeds with a glass of lukewarm water every morning till you see an improvement.
Alternatively, you could soak one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight and eat them the next morning.
Turmeric is an excellent joint pain remedy. The ingredient ‘curcumin’ found in turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Researchers have found that curcumin was as effective as ibuprofen for pain relief in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey in a glass of warm milk. Drink it for a few nights to see results and you will feel find relief from joint pain after pregnancy.
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#8. Apple Cider vinegar:
Apple Cider Vinegar helps reduce joint pain after pregnancy by eliminating accumulated toxins from the joints and connective tissues due to its alkalizing effect. It is also rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
- Mix one to three teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar and a little honey in a cup of warm water. Drink this solution two or three times a day, preferably before meals. You can continue this simple treatment on a regular basis because, in addition to helping with joint pain, it is good for your overall health.
- You can also massage the affected area with a mixture of one tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Do this daily until your joint pain is gone.
Some women have found great relief from joint pain after pregnancy by resorting to techniques of acupuncture. Though this can be done right at home, it should only be done by a trained acupuncture therapist who is well-versed with the technique.
A woman’s body undergoes profound changes during pregnancy and it needs time and rest post delivery to recover. All these home remedies will help you manage postpartum joint pain to a large extent. For severe joint pain which does not show any signs of improvement, consult your doctor who can rule out any postpartum complications and give you advice for the pain.
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