I’m too young to creak!
At 31 I think of myself as reasonably young (though apparently I’m only 4 years away from being considered a ‘geriatric mother’ – jeez!) Despite this perceived youth, since giving birth my knees have become creaky and painful. I needed answers for why my knees were playing up. Maybe it is due to crawling around on the floor to play with my baby, especially during tummy time? This was indeed my initial assumption. My husband encourages me to use his meditation cushion when sitting on the floor. This helps a little though I knew there was more to the story than just sitting on my knees.
Further research showed me that postpartum joint pain is an actual ‘thing’! According to First Cry Parenting, joint pain after childbirth can be caused by a number of things:
- Weight gain – during pregnancy babies gain weight incredibly quickly (and so do mothers). In order to accommodate this, the body puts more pressure on the joints though this is often not noticed until after pregnancy
- Previous conditions – Those with pre-existing arthritis or a previous injury may be more susceptible to joint pain after childbirth
- Lack of physical exercise during pregnancy
- Hormones – ahhh our good friends ‘hormones’ (also responsible for postpartum hair loss) can cause joint pain after childbirth. “Hormones cause 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, consequentially, results in joint pain” (First Cry Parenting).
I think my joint pain comes from a combination of having a fairly sedentary lifestyle and the hormones secreted during and after pregnancy.
Treating joint pain
Postpartum joint pain can be treated with increasing light exercise; use of a hot or cold compress on the joints; acupuncture or body massage.
I am trying hard to increase the amount of exercise I do, especially walking. I am a primary school teacher by trade and it became far too easy for me to forget that I used to do at least 10,000 steps a day and not bat an eyelid. This, on top of a weekly cardio workout and PE lessons.
The number one remedy I look forward to though is a good massage once lockdown is over! If all else fails I’ll be reaching for the Voltarol!