New Parents – Tips for Decreasing Neck & Back Pain

Are you a new mom or parent of young children? Are you noticing an increase in low back
or neck pain?

With little ones in tow, you may have noticed that you are bending and twisting a lot more than you used to. These types of movements can lead to back and neck strain, resulting in a very tired and achy mama or papa at the end of the day.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to minimize the amount of bending over and twisting you do throughout the day:

  1. If you need to get down to the floor to pick something up, instead of bending, perform a squat or get down on one knee.
  2. Get as close as you can to the object you are picking up.
  3. Tuck your tailbone while engaging your lower abdominal muscles. (This protects your low back.)
  4. As you stand, push with your legs and exhale to encourage more lower abdominal activation.

Here’s an example using the steps above:
The car seat is on the ground and you need to use it. Stand close to the car seat and squat or get down on one knee. Before you pick it up, tuck your tailbone. Push using your legs and exhale as you stand, holding the car seat.

More tips to keep in mind:

  • Always face your body to the area of your attention.
  • Try to keep things you will need close to you. (This may involve planning ahead.)
  • If at anytime you need something that is not located right in front of you, avoid twisting to reach it. Instead, stop what you are doing and turn your body so you are facing what you need.

Using another example:
Your toddler is standing by the car and being uncooperative about getting into their car seat. Stand close to your child and practice steps 2-4 to pick him/her up. If you are not facing the area, turn your body so you are facing the open back door.
As best as you can, lower yourself into a semi squat, keeping your abdominal muscles engaged as you place your toddler into their car seat. (If there is room, you can try putting one knee on the edge of the back seat for support as you place your child into the car seat.)
If the car seat is in the middle and out of reach, get yourself and your child into the car. Once you are in the car and able, turn your body to face the car seat before helping your toddler into their seat.

This may sound like a lot to think about when you’re in the heat of the moment. Just remember, anytime you can limit the amount you bend or twist, you are decreasing strain and ultimately pain to your low back & neck. All those little movements accumulate throughout your day. Keep these tips in mind and it will lead to a happier you at the end of the day.

Want more posture tips? Call our office to schedule an appointment or come talk 1 on 1 with one of our physical therapists at the Baby Expo on April 16th, 2016!