As a mother of two young children, a three-year-old and a six-month-old, Amy Arnold always has to think about every possible scenario that could happen for even the most simple of tasks.
Amy is always prepared. She begins each morning by thinking through what her family’s schedule looks like for that day. Amy then strategizes how to manage her time most efficiently between the revolving door of appointments, outings, and social events that cycle through her ever-changing schedule. When she’s out during the day, Amy is quick to assess her surroundings while always keeping a diligent eye on both of her children.
But then one morning, while reaching down to pick up a toy that had fallen to the ground, Amy felt an unnatural spasm in her back. A sharp shooting pain immediately followed and began to radiate through her body. This was Amy’s first experience with back pain. Now in addition to her normal routine, Amy must always think about how her back is feeling.
Some days are good, where she can do all the normal activities she used to. Some days are bad, where she’s unable to bend without having pain when picking up her children. On the really bad days, Amy is unable to do normal daily tasks like changing over the laundry or loading the dishwasher.
Amy is not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, over 80% of people will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Back pain is debilitating and can get in the way of your normal life, especially if you have young kids. In this article, we will give you the five top tips to keep back pain from getting in the way of quality time with your kids.
5 tips to get rid of back pain
Here are our top five tips to help you stay out of back pain while keeping up with your busy family schedule.
- Use good body mechanics when lifting. Contract your inner core when lifting and squat down while bending your knees to lift, rather than bending at the waist.
- Use these same mechanics regardless of whether you’re lifting something extremely light (like a toy) or something that weighs 30 pounds.
- When lifting, never twist through the spine.
- Carry chilldren (and objects) close to your body. When picking up, holding, and putting down your child keep them close to your body. Use the above-listed body mechanics when lifting to reduce the strain placed on your back.
- Keeping objects close to your body keeps your center of gravity closer to your body, which reduces potential strain on your back.
- Contract your inner core. This will prevent your core from weakening and will protect your lower back, especially when being active during the day.
- To contract your inner core, pull your bellybutton in towards your spine, and then think of pulling a ‘drawstring’ together around your abdomen.
- Practice this as much as you can during your day, especially when bending to ‘brace’ your back.
- Distribute weight evenly. Carrying a heavy bag on one side of your body can lead to muscle imbalances and cause strain on your neck, shoulders, and lower back. As we tend to routinely carry heavy bags on the same side of our body.
- Switch which side of your body you carry heavy bags (like diaper bags) on.
- Consider using a messengar-style bag worn across the body or a backpack that distributes weight more evenly.
- If using a baby carrier, opt for an adjustable one that you can switch between carrying your child in front and back of your body.
- Lighten your diaper bag. In addition to changing which side of your body you carry your diaper bag on, try taking out non-essential items from your bag to reduce strain on your body.
Keeping your back healthy
Life with kids is as exciting as it is strenuous. Don’t let back pain ruin the quality time you could be spending with your kids. Our Telespine Health Coaches have helped hundreds of people get back to doing the activities that they love, including time with the kids. We’d love to help you, too. Contact us for more information.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Low back pain fact sheet. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet. Accessed July 8, 2019.