Thursday, March 7, 2013

Back Pain and Care

Its another day as a mum, you go to pick up a sock you dropped on its way to the hamper. You stand up and Aw…ouch! Everything in your back just went very taut. Alas, back pain has found its way into your life. 80% of people will experience back pain sometime in their life. Much is attributed to our occupation; a desk job. But for us mummies, most of it has to do with carrying your baby. Strain typically occurs in the area above the pelvis ,which has been overstretched from pregnancy.
 As the babies grow stronger and heavier, it causes more strain on our backs, especially if you are not lifting them correctly. See below for instruction on lifting technique.
Here are a few tips on how to mind your back while caring for your precious bundle.
(Please note: If your back pain is accompanied by loss of sensation in your legs, weakness in the legs, changes in bowels and/or bladder habits, or increased pain with coughing or sneezing, then you should consult a doctor.)

·      Begin exercising soon after delivery to restore muscle tone to the abdominal and back muscles. While the baby is napping, take 10 minutes to do stretching exercises on the floor each day. This will help restore hip and back flexibility. See below for exercises and illustrations.
·      Do not stretch your arms out to pick up the baby. Bring the baby close to your chest before lifting. Try activating your core muscles. Avoid twisting your body, especially if the baby is at arms length, as it will cause undue strain to your back.
·      To pick up a child from the floor, bend at your knees (at least hip distance apart). Do not, I repeat, do not try to bend at your waist because as your child gets heavier, this will cause undue strain to your back, making it more susceptible to back pain. Squat down, draw your belly button towards your spine, stick your butt back, and lift with your legs.
·      Remove the high chair tray when you are trying to put the baby in or out of the high chair.
·      When lifting the baby up out of the crib, put the crib side down and pull the child toward you. Do not bend over the crib side and lift the baby over the top.
·      Consider using a baby carrier like the Stokke or Ergo to carry the baby when you are walking. Those two carriers are best for you and your baby. (I purchased the Stokke because it offered great support for the baby as well as me)
·      Do not carry a child on your hip; this overloads the back muscles, and if done for prolonged periods can cause unbalance in your hips.
·      To avoid upper back pain from breastfeeding, bring the baby to your breast, rather than bending over the baby. While you are nursing, sit in an upright chair rather than a soft couch where your posture can slump. Alternatively, you can use the pregnancy pillow
·      Do not stand outside the car and try to place the child in the car seat. Kneel on the back seat as you place the baby into the car seat.

Lifting Technique
  1. A baby requires lots of lifting and carrying. By using your legs, one of the most powerful muscles of your body instead of your back, you will protect your spine and lift with more strength and ease.
  2. With spine in neutral, engage your lower abdominals while squeezing your lower cheeks together
  3. Stand close to your baby, with legs shoulder distance apart, bend at the hips, and stick your butt back
  4. Hold baby close, lean back slightly, squeeze butt, putting weight in your heels straighten your knees

With practice, it will get easier to lift this way and hopefully prevent you from any back pain

Upper Back Stretch
  1. Clasp hands in front of your waist, and raise them over-head
  2. Keeping head neutral, relax your shoulders and breathe. 
  3. Count to 10 and repeat 5xs. 

This should be done after a diaper change or anything your shoulders are rolled forward.

Back Extension:
  1. Lay face down, legs extended, with hand under your shoulders in a push up ready position
  2. Straighten your elbows as far as you body will allow, make sure lower body is relaxed(pelvis, butt, legs)
  3. Check your body alignment and make sure shoulders are relaxed as well and away from your ears. Breathe out, relax the lower back and breathe in.  Hold that pose for 2 seconds, and come back down to laying pose.
  4. Repeat 10 times. This exercise can be done 6-8times throughout the day.

Standing Extension:
  1. Stand upright with feet about hip distance apart
  2. Place hands on the small of your back with fingertips pointing to your spine
  3. Arch backwards, bending at the waist as far as you can without discomfort(knees must stay straight)
  4. Hold for 3 seconds and slowly come back up.
  5. Repeat 5 times, each time trying to bend a little further (Most effective when done in conjunction with seated flexion)

Seated Flexion
  1. Sitting at the edge of a chair, arms rested between your legs, bend at the hips, and touch the floor with your hands
  2. Return to seated position and repeat 5-6 times. Once in the morning and once at night.

Treat Your Own Back. McKenzie, Robin. 


  1. 3. Great topic. Back pain is an epidemic in this country and others. The main reason is poor posture and a lack of exercise. The poor posture comes from habitual daily activities that perpetuate poor posture. A lack of exercise promotes weak back musculature. Stronger muscles around the spine help to support the spine. Learn more here: How to good posture. Posture and exercise do require some work but as you can see there is technology that can make the job easier. At this point, there is no excuse for poor posture and weak back muscles because they can be prevented with minimal investment. Yes, you can have good posture.

  2. Great points Albina. Good posture is achievable for everyone with minimal daily exercise.

  3. Thanks for such a nice information about the back pain and its cure. Performing upper back pain exercises at home can be an effective and simple way to ease the pain and discomfort of this sort of problem, as well as to benefit the upper region of the back in a number of ways to minimize on future or recurring problems.
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  4. Great information! Back pain is common among people. I think these stretches are best to reduce the pain and increase mobility of spinal cord.back and neck pain bergen county