Levels of the joint-loosening hormone relaxin can stay elevated for up to 12 months after giving birth regardless of whether or not you breastfeed. This means that you are still experiencing the joint instability you had during pregnancy. Instability is not a safe place for your joints- the body tends to try to protect the more vulnerable joints by clenching muscles in an attempt to stabilize. Ouch.
2) You are not breathing right
Breathing is automatic, but proper breathing technique is not. A proper breath uses mainly the diaphragm and should fill your belly while your chest cavity stays still and quiet. Improper technique involves all kinds of accessory muscles and happens in the chest. After many months of baby squishing your diaphragm, many new moms needs to re-learn how to breathe properly!
3) Your core is dysfunctional
The muscles responsible for stabilizing your core are the deep abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor and the diaphragm. Every single muscle in this group is compromised at some point throughout late pregnancy and delivery: Your diaphragm was shoved aside for 9 months, your abdominal muscles were stretched to their limit (you might even have a diastasis) and your pelvic floor…well it has suffered many assaults... All together, it is likely that the group of muscles we know as the 'core' are not doing their job and as a result, other, less qualified muscles begin to compensate. Compensation always, eventually, leads to pain.
4) Your posture sucks
When you add tender breast growth to countless hours of holding baby and poor sleep quality your posture is bound to suffer. Poor posture is a risk factor for multiple injuries, but risks sky-rocket when you add it to your Post Partum body, complete with improper breathing techniques, high levels of relaxin and core weakness.
5) You are holding too much stuff
Endless hours of rocking baby, carrying the (way too heavy) car seat, vaccuuming with one hand and breastfeeding with the other- we've all been there. But carrying a load on one side of the body requires your body to work in an attempt to balance you. This often results in one-sided compensations and pain.
6) You forgot to take care of yourself
A new baby is a LOT of work. It is way harder than advertised and all-consuming (Trust me, I know!). Your needs fall to second (last) place while baby's wish is your command. It takes most new moms many months to seek help for their new-mom ailments. Often times, getting in to see someone early to nip your little aches and pains in the bud can help prevent them from becoming bigger problems.
*Re-posted with permission from Dr. Caley Bell-Pasht's website http://drcaley.com/blog/