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Joint stiffness when BF

(11 Posts)
WestYorkshireGirl Fri 02-Sep-11 07:43:11

A friend of mine told me this is common when B/f - I have developed terrible stiffness in my wrists and fingers. Anyone else experienced anything similar and if so did you take any supplements for it? Thanks!

Mishy1234 Fri 02-Sep-11 12:16:35

I've definitely had joint stiffness and think it's something to do with hormones. I haven't taken anything specific for it (apart from the usual multivitamin) and it did disappear in time. I've pretty much been bf for about 3.5 years, but noticed that after DS2 was born the stiffness returned. It's now gone 15 months on.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

AngelDog Fri 02-Sep-11 12:44:09

Apparently bf only runs off the hormonal system in the earlier days when it's getting established, and in the longer term it doesn't have much of a hormonal effect.

However, in pregnancy and the 6 months or so after birth you have higher levels of relaxin in your body, which means your joints loosen and can get stiff.

I have wrist, thumb, shoulder/neck and foot problems and all were worse with pregnancy and afterwards. I used to get very stiff in the mornings but not so much now (DS still feeds at 20 months).

Lots of people get inflammation in the tendon running through the base of your thumb, which is what I had, called De Quervain's Syndrome. Mine cleared up by the time DS was about 15 months although it was so bad I couldn't pick him up when it first happened. It's classed as an 'occupational injury'.

There was a thread about stiffness a while ago here.

ChunkyPickle Fri 02-Sep-11 12:54:21

I'd not connected the two, and just assumed that I was getting old, but these days I definitely seize in place, and getting up to walk after sitting down at the computer involves a careful waddle down the hallway until my lower body is used to moving again. I never had this problem pre-pregnancy and BF (except after a particularly thorough session at the gym)

FerretMum Fri 02-Sep-11 16:44:54

That's interesting... I just googled De Quervain's and I definitely have that. It is extremely painful and sometimes feels like something in the wrist/base of thumb is going to dislocate. It's a relief to know what it is - I'd mentioned it to my GP in the same breath as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that I had during pregnancy and we attributed the pain to that, but I thought that might have eased by now... (15 weeks) I was starting to worry that pregnancy had triggered rheumatoid arthritis or something long term.

Good to see De Quervain's should improve when I can rest my wrists and thumbs... So not for a few years then, I guess!!!

AngelDog Fri 02-Sep-11 22:43:38

Brilliant - I'm glad I posted.

You should ask your GP to refer you to a musculo-skeletal expert. I've had a history of wrist problems (I have hypermobility) so I got sent back to my previous hand therapist, then to a physio for shoulder/neck stuff, then eventually went to someone who was effectively a musculo-skeletal GP in the outpatients department at our local hospital. He offered me steroid injections which apparently are very effective in treating it.

In the end I didn't have them as it had improved so much on its own by then (12 months post partum, and it really kicked off at 4 months pp).

Rest is the usual advice, but our hospital offers steroid treatment for people for whom it's an occupational issue, and mothers of small children fall into that category. One other thing the doctor said was that once it's cleared up, it's pretty rare for it to recur.

The hospital also gave me thumb supports to wear when it was really bad, but I had to promise not to wear them all the time, as the joints apparently stiffen up when they don't move much.

AngelDog Sat 03-Sep-11 00:19:35

Dur... well obviously I didn't mean 'Brilliant, you've got DQ's syndrome', I meant 'brilliant, it's always useful to know what the problem is. blush

FerretMum Sat 03-Sep-11 01:50:59

Thanks Angeldog, that is handy to know.

gallicgirl Sat 03-Sep-11 13:50:09

Ooo I have joint stiffness but I don't BF. I was going to ask the doc about it so will have a look at that link first.

Bit worried if rest is the answer as it seems worse after resting because I get stiff. hmm

AngelDog Sat 03-Sep-11 22:54:08

Yes, resting as in not moving tends to make the problem worse with stiffness, but resting as in not doing heavy lifting / straining helps.

I think physio often helps these type of problems (it has helped me a lot), although not particularly for De Quervain's.

eversoslightlytired Sun 04-Sep-11 20:01:03

Yep, every parts of me ache at the moment. DD is 6 months and is bf. I remember after DS I had a terrible time with my back and legs where hubby would have to roll me out of bed and I would have to crawl until I felt able to stand, and after a visit to the Osteopath when he was 5 months was told it was the relaxing hormone that occurs at end of pregnancy to prepare your lower area for birth. She told me it could take up to a year for the hormone to go.

I also had a terrible pain in my right hand which went all the way from the tip of the thumb to my wrist to the point where I couldnt even pull up the strap on my bra let alone hold DS. When I went to the Dr she looked at my hand and before I knew it had yanked my thumb backwards. After my eyes welled up with pain (and I stopped my self from swearing at her) she told me it was De Quervain and prescribed me a wrist support! Have to say that the pain pretty much went quickly after that visit!

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