The phrase coined by the Americans to describe the rounded shoulder, forward head position and anterior pelvic tilt seen in so many parents due to the various activities of parenthood accentuating this is ‘mom posture’
As the mother of 3 young boys I can vouch for the fact that life as a parent is physically hard. It creates neck and back pain which in turn impacts on how able we are to care for our children. An unfortunate downward spiral?
It is often difficult to remember to think of our spinal health (especially when navigating the multiple bags hanging off the buggy and trying to keep an upright posture simultaneously) but a review of what we can try to keep in mind may help reduce the possibility of injury.
Lifting – when lifting our little ones, it is wise to try to bring them as close to our centre of gravity as possible. The heavier they get the more imperative this becomes. Try to remember to engage your core and bend your knees before lifting them. We see many a ‘lifting from the cot’ injury!
Carrying – as with lifting carrying is best done with our tot close to our centre of gravity. Carriers or slings are wise when a babe, with those with straps that cross over at the back being found to be best. (There are sling library’s which allow you to try various types to find the one that suits your needs). Encouraging your toddler to stand and walk themselves is ideal but if this isn’t possible (and our 2yo certainly has his own opinion on this!) endeavour to keep them either at your front or back but not on your hip and not on your shoulders! We see so many people in pain where this is the mechanism of injury. Having said that we are equally forgetful and just grateful to be married to a chiropractor.
Car Seats – getting little ones in and out of car seats seem to be a danger area but if you apply the same rules as above in regard to lifting this does help. There are rotational car seats for toddlers which save the need to become contorted in the confined space of the backseat while lifting your little one. Carrying car seats is a recipe for disaster and if at all possible, transferring your precious cargo to a carrier or pram is so much kinder to your back than hefting a car seat with a bairn on board.
Prams – endeavour to get a pram that has adjustable handles so that you are able to keep an upright posture whilst pushing with your wrists straight and your hands resting gently on the handle. Investing in a model that won’t put too much strain on your spine while getting it in and out of the car is also a sensible choice.
Playing – try if you can to get down to their level instead of bending over. Try not to hold one position too long and to keep your spine straight as opposed to bending forward. Obviously there are times when natural exuberance takes over and of course there is also ‘rough play’ and it goes without saying that this can lead to injury although recently a friend had her nose broken whist simply cuddling her 2yo daughter who flung herself headfirst into mummy’s face – these things happen and although we don’t deal with broken bones we can certainly assist with other parenting related aches and pain.
Feeding – breast or bottle we seem to contort our bodies to accommodate our little poppet’s comfort. But we are often sat for extended periods many times a day (and night!). Trying to ensure our spines are straight and our arms resting on cushions to prevent strain through our neck, shoulder and ribcage.
Of course, as our children mature injuries still occur (often when we try to keep up with them) but they do seem less prevalent.
No matter the age of your child if you are suffering the aches and pains of parenthood please let the Chrio Clinic team help ease the strain.