Most people don’t associate parenting with injuries, but if you really think about it you are constantly bending, lifting, carrying on average 20lbs the first year of life and an average of 27lbs by age 2! Add in multiple children and it’s no wonder you may be experiencing lower back pain, shoulder pain or mid-back pain. The average parent is likely bending over to pick their child up at least 20 times per day, if not much more. This can create repetitive strain injuries on your muscles, ligaments and joints of your spine.
The GOOD NEWS is there are simple strategies you can implement right now to prevent some of the strain (and PAIN) you place on your body on a daily basis.
1. Carrying your Child
Do THIS: Hold your baby in front of you as centered as possible keeping them close to your body. If using a carrier, try to stand up straight keeping your shoulders back.
Not THAT: Propping your baby on your hip and only holding them on one side of your body.
2. Lifting your Child from the Crib
Do THIS: Bend from your hips and knees, keep your feet hip width apart, get as close as you can to your child with arms bent and lower the railing if possible...engage your stomach muscles, push through your legs and stand up keeping your back from rounding too much. Try to face them so you don’t have to twist your body.
Not THAT: Lock your legs out and lean far forward to reach your baby with your arms extended away from you.
3. Lifting your Child from the Floor
Do THIS: Bend from your hips and knees to lower to a half-kneeling position, get as close as you can to your child and hold them close to you...engage your stomach muscles, push through your legs and stand up keeping your back from rounding too much.
Not THAT: Lock your legs out and lean far forward to reach your baby with your arms extended.
4. Picking Toys off the Floor
Do THIS: Use a golfer’s pick up by hinging at your waist keeping your back relatively flat and kick your other leg out behind you for counter-balance.
Not THAT: Bend from your waist, legs locked out and reaching to the floor.
I understand life often gets in the way of moving properly (especially with little ones running around), but hopefully some of these tips will help alleviate your pain! Please contact Engage Health + PT if you have other questions. Stay strong, healthy and happy!