Kids. As much as we love them, most moms would also testify to them being a pain in the backside when they want to. There will be days when you can’t stand the sight of the little terrors. There will even come moments when you long for your childfree, carefree days. But, we all know this about parenthood, and we do it anyway. The rewards, after all, well outweigh any niggly days like these.
But, what you might not have known going into this mom malarky is that kids can also cause pain in your actual back. So, if you’ve been suffering in the back department since your bundles of joy came along, you probably aren’t alone. In fact, asking around your mommy pals is all it takes to reveal that a load of you are probably experiencing this issue. Far from being ‘another sign of age,’ this seems to be a problem which often arises, especially in those parenting toddlers. What’s more, this seems to an issue regardless of your stage in life. Even the youngest moms out there seem to suffer here at times.
Of course, plenty of people suffer from back problems, and many of them aren’t even parents. But, recognizing that your kids are the cause of your worries can actually help your recovery. After all, if you know that parenting is causing your problems, you’ll be able to take action to rectify the issue. With that in mind, then, let’s look at a few of the main reasons parenting can lead to back problems, and what you can do about it.
All that bending
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that being a mom involves bending over A LOT. In fact, during an average day, you’re probably up and down like a yo-yo. The problem is, kids are so tiny. From the moment they’re born, everything you do with them will involve bending over in some form or another. When they’re babies, you’ll need to lean over the crib or pram to lift them. Even once they reach toddler age, you’ll need to bend over often, to both get to their level and clean up after them. After all, there are sure to be a lot of toys down on the floor once they learn how to walk. And, you at least want to keep your house a little tidy. But, if your back is suffering from all this bending business, it’s past time you did something to improve your situation. Sadly, you can’t make your kids grow. At least, not for another fifteen years or so. Instead, then, you should consider ways to take things a little easier. Even something as simple as learning how to lift correctly can ensure you aren’t straining. So, do some research to make sure you lift right every time. If things are bad, you could even consider small ways to cut out some of that bending. Investing in some sort of grip stick, for instance, would allow you to pick up toys without bending over. Or, you could always work hard to ensure your kids pick up after themselves. A mom’s got to dream, hasn’t she?
The pressure of piggybacks
When you have kids, you probably give piggybacks. The two things seem to go hand in hand. It might be that you’re just playing around, or that your kids are too tired to walk. You may even be lifting them so that they can see something. Either way, they’ll end up on your back more often than you might imagine. And that can cause obvious back issues. A piggyback puts a lot of strain on your lower back, and if that’s weakened already, this could cause injury. Of course, the best way around something like this would be to refuse outright, especially for extended periods. A minute-long bit of fun is unlikely to hurt, but doing this for five minutes or more is risky. If your kids are persistent, though, you might want to keep the following points in mind for avoiding pain.
- Keep weight even
- Build piggyback lengths slowly
- Walk on soft ground for shock absorption
- Avoid running or jumping
- Pay attention to any pain
If you keep these points in mind, there’s much less risk of hurting yourself than there would be otherwise. Think, too, about applying the lifting methods from above when you bend down to lift your child here. Getting this wrong from the start could leave your back vulnerable. Make sure, too, that you draw the line when your little ones reach certain ages. Putting them on your back might be easy enough when they’re three or below, but placing a six-year-old on your shoulders is different. Once you continually start to struggle, be strict. They’ll soon stop asking, and your back will be able to breathe a sigh of relief at last.
You’re always weighed down these days
When you became a mom, you literally picked up baggage. As in, you committed yourself to a life of carrying diaper bags and kids rucksacks everywhere with you. The sad fact is, youngsters require a fair amount of supplies. When you have a baby, you’ll need everything from changes of clothes to ready bottles and nappy supplies. Even once your little ones get older, they’ll probably want to take toys along with them everywhere. You’ll also need to consider packed lunches to take along with you. So, you’ll STILL be carrying heavy bags. And, you don’t need us to tell you that’s bad news for your back. Over time, this could lead to some severe pain issues. Of course, you can’t leave your kids without, so you need to find different ways to overcome this problem. For one, it’s always worth looking out for backpacks over shoulder bags. The best way to beat pain anywhere is to distribute weight evenly. And, you can’t do that with a shoulder bag. By comparison, a backpack ensures no one muscle or joint carries the most weight. That even distribution can stop you from feeling pain. If things have gone too far for even that, you could always consider a bag on wheels which you or your kids can pull along. Bear in mind, though, that you would need to find an option with an extendable handle. Otherwise, you’d only invite more bending into your life.
You stopped taking care of yourself
It’s also worth considering whether you stopped taking care of yourself when your kids arrived. This is something parents often do, and it can lead to all sorts of health complaints, including bad backs! In the pre-child days, you would have noticed and treated a bad back straight away. Instead of pushing on, you would’ve given yourself time to lie back or taken a bath. But, you were too busy for that, and now things have gotten so much worse than they needed to. The good news is, it’s never too late to focus on taking care of yourself. So, get into the habit of taking an evening bath while your partner looks after the kids. When your kids are at playgroup or kindergarten, book yourself in with someone like the Aurora Physical Therapists who can help ease back pain through use of methods like stabilizing muscles. And, for goodness sake, ease the load sometimes. If your back is killing you, don’t push through. Allow yourself the time to sit back and relieve that pressure.
You’re always on the go
That actually leads us to our next point. Another issue which often causes back pain is the fact that, as parents, we’re always on the go. Our kids have seemingly endless energy, and we have no choice but to follow behind them. If you take them out to the park, you might feel the need to play and run with them, for instance. Even at home, you might continually stay active to keep your kids amused. The trouble is, their bones are fresh and free to move without limits. But, you’re a lot older, and you’re sure to feel the strain of continual activity like this. Lucky for you, this has the easiest answer of all. All you need to do is allow yourself to take a break sometimes. Forget trying to keep up with the kids. That’s not going to happen. Instead, learn your limits and stick with them. There’s no reason you can’t still get involved in games and physical activity, but don’t push yourself. Instead, focus on getting your kids going, and then leave them to entertain themselves. When they’re lost in a game, the chances are that they won’t notice your absence too much. Obviously, this is much easier to manage if you have more than one little terror. But, even single children are usually content to mess around with friends if you aren’t able. Whatever you do, stop thinking you can push yourself without repercussions. This is a mistake which could cost your dearly much sooner than you realize.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.