Before becoming parents, most men and women never consider that welcoming babies into their lives and raising children will be a cause for neck or back pain. However, the reality is that many parents suffer from spine related pain at some point while caring for their children. After all, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, lifting children, bending forward, and carrying children can all put stress on the spine. In this article, we discuss a few ways new parents can help reduce their risk of injury and back pain.
Exercising and strengthening the body’s core muscles is a great way to prevent neck and back pain related to parenting. For new fathers, exercise can start as soon as mom and baby are safely at home, rested, and into an established routine. For new mothers, it is important to have an obstetrician’s clearance before resuming exercise. Stretching, yoga, and pilates are all great exercises for new mothers. While at home, using baby’s naptime creates a great opportunity for exercise. Group classes can also be a great way for new mothers to take a break from the demands of a new baby and improve their overall well-being.
It can be tempting to co-sleep. Having baby in bed with you can seem like a great idea, especially when you are sleep deprived and exhausted with waking during the night to comfort and feed a crying baby. Before deciding to co-sleep, it is important to be mindful of the risks involved. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend co-sleeping as exhausted parents could roll on top of baby or accidentally cover baby with pillows or covers. Aside from these very dangerous risks, sleeping with baby can also cause neck and back pain for new parents who try and sleep in awkward positions to accommodate and protect the new baby. When baby gets older and larger, parents will still experience poor sleep and awkward sleep positions while having baby in bed. In addition to this, an older baby will become mobile and could roll out of bed. To avoid these risks, be well rested, and prevent spine-related pain, co-sleeping is not recommended.
When lifting a child or baby from the floor, play yard, or any lower lying surface, be sure to bend at your knees by squatting down, tightening your stomach muscles, and lift using your legs. Many parents will make the mistake of bending at the waist to pick up babies and children. Bending at the waist is not advised as it puts stress on the spine and will become particularly dangerous as a child becomes heavier. Further, do not stretch your arms out to pick up your baby. Instead, bring your baby close to your body before lifting. When holding baby, be mindful of your posture and never twist your body.
Being well advised about how to prevent spine-related pain as a new parent is key. Simple lifestyle modifications can make a big difference, as can dealing with pain and discomfort in a timely manner. If you are suffering from any type of neck or back pain, our Spine Specialists at the Stridewell Same-Day Spine Clinic can help you identify the causes of your pain and prevent future pain from occurring. Stridewell Tips
Breastfeeding can cause many women to experience upper back pain. To avoid this, it is advised that breastfeeding mothers not bend over baby while breastfeeding. Instead, place a pillow or two on your lap to bring baby up to your breast. To improve posture and not put undue stress on the spine, it is also advised that nursing mothers sit in an upright chair rather than a soft couch. When baby is older and sitting in a high chair, remove the high chair tray when putting baby in and out of the high chair. Trying to hold baby in place while maneuvering around the tray can put stress on the spine – especially as baby becomes more heavy and active.
When travelling by car, it is also not recommended to carry baby in their car seat. Infant car seats are already very heavy. When you put baby inside and carry to and from the car to restaurants or your favorite coffee shop, you are putting great stress on your spine. Strollers are great for transporting babies and children. When your baby is not too heavy, using a front pack baby carrier with adequate back support can also be a great and enjoyable option. Babies and children should also never be carried on the hip. This overloads the back muscles.read article