Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Aches & pains--anyone else?

(Warning: pregnancy mentioned and its aftermath discussed)

My weird body is at it again.  I think I'm the only twin mom I know who didn't have lots of back pain during her pregnancy.  Sometimes I had pain in my hips (which I attributed to lying on my left side so much), and I had bad pain in my wrists and hands which my OB's NP told me was probably carpal tunnel syndrome. . . . but both of those went away within a few weeks after delivery.

(Oh, and don't have get me started on my c-section-related complaints!  Over five months out, I still have an area between my belly button and my incision which is numb; after healing beautifully for the first few months, a portion of my scar recently has started forming a keloid and often itches; and I sometimes get random shooting pains to the left of my numb area and/or itching that cannot be relieved by scratching or odd cramping feelings around my incision site.  Sigh.)

Back to my back pain. . . . I felt an occasional twinge, likely due to muscle fatigue, when I was home on leave with the boys right after they were born.  But I figured that was normal because I was doing so much lifting and carrying of babies.

The real back pain has started since I went back to work at the end of March.  During the first full week I was sitting at my desk all day, I managed to "throw out" my back just by sitting in a position too long.  It was crazy: one moment I was comfortably seated, looking at my computer monitor; the next, I tried to stand and got halfway up before being seized by a terribly painful muscle spasm which prevented me from straightening up.  The pain and tightness persisted for almost a week after, although after the first two days, I could at least straighten up enough to walk properly.

Before I ever got pregnant, I had suffered with symptoms consist with piriformis syndrome in my right hip, and though I was never officially diagnosed with this, I had treated it with massage and stretching, with pretty good results.  Despite not being able to stretch or exercise, I never had any problem with this while pregnant, but since returning to work, I've noticed a lot of pain and tightness in that area and also occasional numbness/tingling in my right thigh again.

I have tried yoga (not as regularly as I should, but I have done it 1-2 times a week on average), stretching a few times a day, getting deep tissue massage, taking ibu.profen.  All of these things have given me some limited relief, but the pain and tightness persist and are worse some times than others.

In addition to this lower back pain which appears to be interconnected with my hip tightness, I also sometimes have pain in the middle of my back (between my shoulder blades).  That seems to get worse after lying down for a while, so that if I have to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to one of the boys, I sometimes experience a shooting pain there when I try to sit up.  Not sure if it's lifting the boys, bad posture, too much time at the computer at work, or some combination of these that is causing this pain.

I know my core has been weakened by my pregnancy and by a year of very little to no exercise.  In addition, I'm sure my abdominal muscles are stretched out because my lower abdomen in particular looks "poochier" than it ever looked before I was pregnant, even when I weighed more than I do currently.  And when I lie on my back and put any pressure on my lower abdomen--either pressing with my hands or sitting one of the babies on there, for example--it actually causes some discomfort.

I've considered going to my doctor about this, but he is likely to recommend physical therapy, which I simply do not have the time to do.  I am perpetually behind at work these days as it is, not to mention my personal commitments.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading.  I guess I just wanted to put this out there and see if I'm the only one who's noticed these changes-for-the-worse post-pregnancy, and if not, what others did about them, if anything.


  1. Ok, 4 abdominal surgeries (2 of them c-sections later), here are my thoughts for you:

    The pain on your abdomen when you press could be adhesions (scarring). The only way to get rid of it would be to have more surgery which would beget more scarring. In other words - get used to it, and know if you get pregnant again it could cause discomfort there as that scarring has to stretch.

    The mid-upper back stuff could be from the spinal anesthesia. Personally, I get a numb spot just under my left shoulder blade that comes and goes for about a year. I know someone else who has pain there from an epidural. Weird. If it's that, it should fade over time.

    As for the rest? Twins are hard on your body. The pregnancy is hard and has lasting effects, and then the constant lifting and straining. I threw out my arm three times in the first 6 months. Keep doing what you're doing, and in time it should get better. Won't be long before they're walking and then the strain on your body eases up some!

  2. I had tons of back problems after both c-sections; I think it's a combo of having no abdominal muscles (and therefore compensating with one's back) and the usual burden of carrying around small people. I actually did end up in physical therapy when LG was about 1.5...I'd recommend doing something about it sooner. Yoga is helping me this time around, but I'm still aware that I have a TON of lower back pain, which I never did pre-pregnancy (or even during pregnancy). Sucks. I totally empathize.

    Oh, I had a funky growth on my scar, too; it eventually went away [six months?] or it would have needed to be surgically removed (it stuck out about an inch beyond the rest of the scar).

  3. Hi! My name is Carrie and I am a long time lurker on your blog. Just reading your blog today I wanted to say hi and say that after each of my boys at about 6 months I had HORRIBLE back spasms to the point that I could not take care of myself or my children. Muscle relaxers and pain meds only helped temporarily. Finally my mother convinced me to go the chiropractor and tada! Believe me, I was very skeptical that it would work and it did take a few visits, but honestly I know that is what helped bring me back from "the dead". Just a suggestion. A belated congrats on your babies btw!

  4. I tried a bunch of different things for my back pain that I have suffered with for years - including physical therapy. The absolute BEST thing for me was acupuncture. It completely fixed the problem. Maybe give that a try. Plus the nice thing with acupuncture is they can treat multiple symptoms for all sorts of different things all at the same time!


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