When you start your postpartum period, you might have a lot of questions, like is hip pain after a c-section normal, or when will my body feel normal again?
We have to remember that, even though we want to feel normal again, our bodies enter a period of intense recovery after we have a baby. It takes weeks for our bodies to make it back to something that resembles normalcy. Cut your body some slack; you did grow a baby then birth him into the world.
That doesn’t mean you should brush everything you feel off and believe it’s normal. Some things AREN’T normal, and moms must know what to expect and what could be a warning sign of a looming problem.
Women tend to assume the pain will go away, especially tending to a newborn baby who doesn’t sleep. Those lingering pains don’t always go away, and putting up with the pains for too long isn’t a good idea. When that happens, it’s time to talk to your doctor, such as when you’re experiencing hip pain.
Is Hip Pain Common After Pregnancy?
Yes and no, but that’s not helpful.
Here’s the deal.
Hip pain after childbirth, whether you have a cesarean or vaginal birth, can be normal, but trauma can cause pain as well. For the first 2-3 weeks following delivery, the pelvic and hip pain after your c-section or vaginal birth might be due to your bones re-adjusting post-delivery.
If your pain persists beyond the 2-3 weeks postpartum, you need to talk to your doctor. It could be normal, but it’s worth discussing with your doctor to be sure.
What Causes Hip Pains After Pregnancy?
You probably had a good idea about what causes hip pain during pregnancy, which is all of the weight you’re carrying and loosened ligaments from the hormones throughout your body.
So, why would you continue to have it after pregnancy?
A lot of the pain has to do with all of the physical changes that your body went through during pregnancy. The process of loosening ligaments and shifting of everything in your body can lead to issues with the alignment of your joints and muscle function.
While most women notice their discomfort decreases after the birth of their child, some realize that their pain is lingering longer than usual. It might be due to difficult birth or reasons unseen, but issues such as bruising, dislocation, or even fracturing can take place after childbirth. You can also experience hip dysplasia after delivery!
Can C-Sections Cause Hip Pain?
Believe it or not, c-sections can be the root problem of your hip pain. The reason behind your pain could be scar tissue.
After you have a c-section and start to heal, the scar tissue adheres to tissue in the surrounding areas. That means the region is running from your pubic bone to your bladder, uterus, and colon, along with all other areas. Scar tissue can also attach to the uterosacral ligament, which is one of the major ligaments located around your uterus, and this attachment can inhibit the sacrum from free movement.
In other words, scar tissue can make it uncomfortable to bend, twist, and walk. Restricted tissue mobility is one of the leading causes of lower back pain after a c-section.
That’s not all! The post-cesarean scar tissue can attach to the hip flexor and PSOAS muscles leading to frequent tightness, back, and hip flexor pain after a c-section.
What Does The Pain Feel Like?
The pain can feel different for every woman. Some complain that their pain feels like a dull ache that doesn’t go away when positions are changed, or pressure is relieved.
Other women complain of a sudden onset left or right lower pain after a c-section that might radiate to your knee or buttocks. This pain might be associated with sciatic nerve compression or piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is when caused by irritation, inflammation, and spasms or the piriformis muscle.
That’s not all! 🙁
Surgeons try to avoid essential nerves during c-sections, but some nerves run close to where doctors open your incision. That means these nerves can be trapped or crushed by scar tissue, or the nerves might be cut, which is less likely to cause pain.
Pain from nerves is typically described as a burning hip pain after a c-section, and there might be shock-like sensations. The area might be painful to light touches, even clothing!
How Long Does Hip Pain Continue?
Unfortunately, determining how long hip pain lasts after a c-section can be tricky. It’s different for every person.
For some women, they’ll only experience the pain for 2-3 weeks postpartum, and then it’ll gradually disappear as your body gets back to normal. Some ibuprofen or heat is all that’s needed to kick the pain to the curb.
Some women, on the other hand, experience hip pain for months or even years after they have their baby. These women have additional problems beyond their bodies, getting back to normal. It could be scar tissue adhesions, dislocations, fractures, or other issues.
In those cases, you need to seek out the proper help from a specialist, such as a pelvic floor specialist, physical therapist, or chiropractor.
How to Reduce Hip Pain After a C-Section
Treatment for your hip pain will depend on why you have the pain. The treatment for nerve pain is different than the pain caused by scar tissue adhesions or a fractured hip.
That being said, some general recommendations can be used in all cases to help reduce the discomfort. Always be sure to seek out help from a trusted expert.
Lose Weight if You’re Overweight
Losing the baby weight can be hard, but the weight you’re holding onto might be the culprit of your discomfort. The extra weight can put pressure on your nerves and your lower back. Gradually working to lose weight can be a huge help!
Rotate Heat and Ice Compresses
Most chiropractors recommend a mixture of using heat and ice compresses to reduce pain. You can use these compresses to help reduce hip pain or lower back discomfort.
Try a Lidoderm Patch
Here is an affordable choice for pain relief. A Lidoderm patch is a topical numbing medication that you apply to the uncomfortable area. It can provide a significant reduction in pain for up to 12 hours per patch.
Typically, Ibuprofen is recommended for aches and pains around the hips and other joints. Not only is this a pain medicine, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce any swelling in and around your hips.
Try Gentle Stretching, Such as Yoga
Gentle stretching and deep breathing can be helpful as well. Your scar tissue might need to be stretched with these movements, but it also can help to reduce any stress in your body. Yoga strengthens ligaments that might be loose because of pregnancy.
Remember It’s Not Always Normal
If you had your baby a few weeks ago, the hip pain you’re experiencing is normal. Your body went through a lot of changes, and it’s working hard to reach normalcy again.
If you’re a month postpartum and still have hip pain after a c-section, then you need to seek a specialist. Chances are you have some underlying issues that need to be addressed so that you can get back to normal as fast as possible.
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.