Parenting is a tough gig in many ways. Women who are pregnant often endure back aches and pains for the last several months of pregnancy and hope that, once the baby arrives, her body will get back to normal. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case and back pain can linger or worsen. Back pain is also a problem for the dads, as being a parent requires frequent bending, lifting and twisting.
Why Low Back Pain Happens to Parents
According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, women who have recently had a child are at increased risk for back pain and injury. During pregnancy, a woman's body releases a variety of hormones that relax all the muscles and ligaments of the body in preparation for childbirth. After the baby is born, everything is supposed to re-harden but women are often not able to take proper care of themselves after childbirth, lifting carseats, strollers and other children while in the process of healing and increasing the risk of injury. In addition, constantly lifting babies and toddlers puts a strain on the back, as does bending 400 times a day to pick up blocks or crayons or dropped baby bottles.
There are ways to minimize the risk of back pain in parenting. Give your baby a bath in the sink or in a baby bathtub on the countertop. This is better for your posture than leaning over a baby in the bathtub. Make sure to never leave a baby in the sink or in the baby bathtub on a counter unattended, to prevent drowning or falling risks.
If your child uses an infant carseat that is detachable from the base so you can carry the baby around in the seat, use caution. Don't hold the seat by one hand and swing it at your side as you walk, as this is very bad for your back. Instead, hold the carseat close to your body and lift with your knees instead of your back. In addition, if you use a baby carrier for your little one while doing chores or walking around, look for one that is a side carrier with a sash-type style that wraps around the whole body rather than the kind that puts the baby on your back or chest.
Keeping Your Back Healthy
If you are overweight, consider losing the excess weight in a healthy manner as this excess weight can make back pain worse. Do your best to exercise on a regular basis to strengthen muscles in your entire body, back included. It's also a good idea to stretch regularly to prevent injuries.
Treating Parental Back Pain
Consult your doctor if your back pain persists or get worse. Your doctor may suggest massage or chiropractic care to improve back pain, or he may show you simple exercises to help ease the pain. Ice or heat may also work. Ask your doctor if it's OK to take over-the-counter pain relievers, suggests American Family Physician.