by: Stamford Spine

Before you have children, you often hear about feeling a love like you’ve never felt before… in addition to the sleepless nights and tantruming toddlers. But the one thing that might surprise you is the backache that can come along with parenthood, particularly for moms.

 

Why is that? 

After delivering a child, it is extremely common for a woman to have a compromised and weakened core. This will increase a mom’s likelihood of back pain even if she hadn’t experienced it prior to delivery. It is very common for the stabilizing muscles of the lumbar spine to become “inhibited” meaning less active when protecting the spine after delivering a child.

Mothers who delivered via c-section often have an even harder time contracting their core muscles to protect their back when bending because of the trauma to the muscles during surgery.

What makes things more of a pain in the back is that holding a child gets progressively harder as your child’s weight increases. This is a new experience and physical challenge for most people’s back and will typically increase risk of injury or pain. 

 

What can I do to alleviate back pain related to holding my child? 

Practice lifting the child with your hips and legs instead of bending to lift the child with your back.

Practice CORE exercises that are designed to provide spinal stability in the low back. 

Practice hip stretches that focus on increasing the mobility of the hips so that they can bend and move easier when lifting your child. This puts less load on the low back. 

Dr. Murphy with Stamford Spine will often suggest that the patient work with one of my massage therapists to address the pain in the back muscles.

 

Is there a proper way to hold my child to prevent back pain?

Practice the proper technique of a deadlift exercise with a healthcare provider. Also, practice holding the child on both sides of the body, not just on one side. We get into trouble when we develop the bad habit of just using our dominant arm or just using the non-dominant arm so that the dominant arm is free for other tasks. This will cause overuse of muscles and joints and will not allow the body to share the workload like it could if you remember to switch arms/sides of your body.

Will it help if I use a baby sling or baby carrier? 

Baby slings and baby carriers can also help reduce back pain by distributing the weight of the baby through more of your body, but they are best used like crutches. “Use them when we need them due to pain or injury and then work towards getting rid of them.” Ultimately the goal is to get your back strong again to prevent future injury.


When should I seek advice from a professional?

Take action immediately to see your chiropractor or physical therapist to work on strengthening your low back and mobilizing your hips. The problem most likely won’t go away on its own. 

Have questions or want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Murphy to get help with your back pain?
Call Stamford Spine at (203) 580-3232.

This post originally appeared on Stamford Spine.

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