Caring for an infant is exhausting work -- more so if you have other little ones running around. Even though you've always considered yourself to be in good physical condition, now you get pain in your back, especially when you bend over or lift.
So what can you do to prevent those painful and annoying backaches? Health care experts point out that getting into better physical condition and practicing proper body mechanics can help you avoid those nasty pain twinges.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Yep, that's right. Like you aren't already busy enough. Now you have to fit time in for exercise. Your motivation factor may be low at this point, but you'll be glad you did it in the end.
It doesn't matter whether you are Mom or Dad. Strengthening the muscles of your legs, upper back, shoulders, and arms can be a life saver. If you elect chiropractic care to relieve back pain, your chiropractor can teach you strengthening exercises that support your treatment.
Strength training is particularly important for women who have just given birth. Pregnancy puts a strain on the body, especially on the muscles in the lower back. As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it weakens the abdominal muscles. The extra weight also puts strain on the back and increased stress on the joints.
New parents (it doesn't matter their gender) often feel strain in the area between the shoulders at the base of the neck. Regardless of which muscles are weakened, bending and stretching put you at risk for back problems.
Walking and swimming are low-impact exercises that give you a good workout and help tighten the muscles of the back and abdomen. Water aerobics put minimal strain on the joints and back but help you maintain strength and flexibility. Massage is another option many chiropractors use in combination with exercise and other therapies for treating back pain.
Watch How You Move
Make an effort to think about your movements, especially when you're trying to avoid awkward twisting, turning, and bending motions. After all, back problems are the last thing you need right now. But pretending like you aren't in pain will only make it worse. Lack of sleep doesn't help either, as tired muscles and joints increase the risk of back pain and injury.
Along with chiropractic treatment, practicing safe infant-care habits can help take off some of the added physical stress being a new parent puts on your back:
Lower the side of your infant's crib and pull your child toward you. Bend at the waist when you lift. You risk hurting yourself if you bend over the side of the crib and lift your baby over the top. It's important to keep your back straight and firm.
Avoid carrying your little one on your hip, as it puts excessive strain on your back muscles. If you choose to use a front pack, the carrier should distribute your baby's weight between your shoulders and waist.
Kneel or squat to lift your child from the floor or a stroller. Bending from your knees reduces the stress on your back. Use your leg muscles to push yourself back up to a standing position.
Use a changing table higher than your waist so you don't have to stoop over. Changing your baby on the floor or bed can be hard on your back. You should be able to stand up straight while doing the task.
Before lifting your infant into a car seat, pull the seat closer to you so that you won't have to reach as far. Brace yourself for the lift by placing one knee on the back seat.
Open and walk through a baby safety gate. It's easier on your back than stepping over it.
For more tips on taking care of your back, contact a company such as Airdrie Chiropractic.