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-   -   "Postpartum Pain Syndrome" research-- any input appreciated! (

mamachiro 08-15-2009 05:26 PM

Greetings MDCers~

I am a mama of three amazing kiddos, all born at home, ages 8, 5, and 1. I am also a chiropractor and craniosacral therapist whose practice is focused on pediatrics, pregnant & postpartum women. I became a mama while I was studying to become a chiropractor and was greatly disappointed on the lack of useful information regarding treating mothers. After 6 years of practice, I have seen the same "syndrome" over and over again, so frequently that I finally decided to name it "Postpartum Pain Syndrome". In a nutshell, it looks something like this:

Mothers, usually breastfeeding (extra hormones= increased laxity of ligaments), with a cluster of specific symptoms including chronically tight and painful upper backs, shoulders, necks, TMJ problems, muscle and joint pain/stiffness, and headaches-- as well as mothers with increased susceptibility to lower back injuries, including herniated discs. There are numerous contributing factors, of course: all the ackward, sustained postures associated with mothering (breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, leaning over the change diapers, pick up toys, do extra laundry, carry carseats, etc etc etc...) combined with ligaments that are still loose and unstable, complicated by hormonal fluctuations, propensity for mild-severe depression, topped off with sleep deprivation and no time or money for self care... you get the idea!

Combining my experience as a mama who has lived through it, with my experience as a practitioner who has treated hundreds of mamas going through it, I am developing a presentation to share with other practitioners. I want to increase awareness about the unique challenges mamas face so that they can be better served by the practitioners who treat them. Happier, healthier mamas = happier, healthier babies = happier, healthier world. Overly optimistic? Maybe, but at least I'm trying to do my small part to "be the change".

So, if any of you out there are so inclined, I'd love to hear your stories, thoughts, and ideas. I'd love clinical input from doctors, midwives, bodyworkers of all kinds, etc... as well personal input from moms "in the trenches" (now or in the past) about their experiences.

Thank you, and be well!


Avani 08-15-2009 06:25 PM

I only have a minute but my cranial sacral therapist/chiropractor and energy healer were discussing this yesterday. I am 5 weeks postpartum and have been experiencing pinched nerve issues within my back, depressive/anxiety issues and jaw/neck issues. We discussed that for the first three months postpartum most women have these exact same issues due to the body still recovering from birthing and once we hit at least six months postpartum that many of these issues will resolve with the help of therapy. we also discussed the use of the placenta in postpartum and she believes that midwives should push the use of the placenta after birth. She said she felt like she wasted her own placentas without the knowledge of what to do with it after birthing. I had my accupuncturist dehydrate it and add in chinese herbs. The use of it has decreased my depression/anxiety/headaches and muscle pains. I can compare this experience with my previous 5 births. Using the cranial sacral therapist during the last part of my pregnancy led to a much easier labor and birth and using her after the birth resulted in a much easier postpartum period. WHat kind of info are you looking for?

seeing_stars 08-15-2009 11:26 PM

nak right now, so I'll be short, but sounds lik me.

I'm perhaps worse because I have genetically very lax ligaments that have caused be to dislocate joints very easily, specifically my knees. I have severe SPD when I am pregnant and experience pain in my pubic area postpartum that keeps me awake at night. I have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday to measure the separation so that we can figure out what to do. I get adjusted regularly, but am hyper mobile so there is nothing for the adjustment to "stop against", I just keep moving. I never hold an adjustment for more than a day or two. I wake up every day with sore leg muscles, almost as if I've worked out for too long at the gym when I haven't. I am extreme, I know. Going in for knee surgery in mid october to reconstruct ligaments and reposition patellar tendon.

annekh23 08-16-2009 01:14 AM

I'm like seeing_stars, underlying hypermobility (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome). I've had 3 babies, and have had some degree of pain after each of them. For me, I'm not sure I can quite pin it on just being postpartum though, for example, I had shoulder pain after my first and did a lot of PT as it was subluxing regularly, but I'd had shoulder surgery a year before I got pregnant.

2nd pregnancy, I had some kind of all over pain issue in the last month, some have said it looked a lot like a fibromyalgia flare up and from what I've read since, it does seem it looked a lot like that. Baby was largish (8lb8oz, but my first was a tiny 5lb13oz) and posterior and the pelvic and hip damage was immense. Even so it was always less painful than that last month of pregnancy, though a couple of years of severe pain really wears your tolerance down. Using crutches some of the time took it's toll on my upper body. I breastfed through it, despite many people suggesting I should stop and my condition would improve, but I wasn't convinced and life was already hard enough without adding in making bottles. It turned out that I'd torn my labrum in my left hip - stopping breastfeeding wasn't exactly going to help that, it needed surgery, so I'm glad I stuck with it.

Roll on #3, an unplanned pregnancy 10 months after the hip surgery, going into pregnancy I was in pretty good form, though was in the middle of a flare up of rib pain, a problem I've had since my teens. The rib pain was really bad, plus I struggled with SPD and SI instability. This time delivery was by c-section and again I felt so much better, I'm almost 3 months pp and I feel like you post described me perfectly. This time there is no injuries, but most days I ache to varying amounts. My shoulders seem to be gradually getting worse and of course being a busy mum of 3 I haven't had much chance to look after myself, I probably should see a physical therapist as I think with all the various problems I've had I need their expertise in determining an exercise program.

LiLStar 08-16-2009 03:49 AM

After my first was born I had lots of wrist pain. I think it may have been caused by letting her sleep with my arm under her all night long and pinching a nerve or something? not sure exactly. I forgot all about it until I saw this thread and remembered!

And you've given away enough of your identity for me to assume you're already pretty familiar with any neck issues I have this time around! (Its Rachel, Allie and River's mom)

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