Spinal cord bones
Chiropractic, Injury Prevention

5 Ways to Avoid Back Pain after Becoming a Parent

During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate your growing baby, which causes your core in general to weaken. Combine this with the demands of carrying your new bundle of joy and you become more at risk for back pain and injuries as your muscles are working overtime to support your spine.

Consider the fact that parents may be lifting a 7-10 pound baby 50 times a day! By 12 months your baby weighs approximately 17 pounds, and at 2 years, that child has become a 25-30 pound toddler.

Here are some simple tips to avoid injury while still enjoying every moment with your little one…

1. Lifting 

When picking up your child, stand with your feet at least shoulder width apart. Keep your back in a neutral position – you should have a curve in your low back inward towards your bellybutton – and bend your knees. Bring your baby as close to your chest as possible, and then lift using both arms straightening your legs.

2. Carrying 

When carrying your baby be sure to pivot your whole body with your feet rather than twisting your back. This will ensure that you’re turning with your hips and reduce the risk of back pain. Lower your child into the crib or floor by bending at your knees not at your hips.

3. Holding Your Baby

Hold your child in an upright position, directly against your chest. Carrying them on one hip or the other creates postural imbalances that can lead to aches and pains over time. Always make sure to support your baby with both hands and be conscious about their ability to hold their head up.  Keeping your baby close to your chest will give support to their head and neck.

 

4. Feeding Your Baby

Always sit in a chair that has a good back support and avoid leaning forward to reach your newborn’s mouth. Instead, use pillows to support your baby and position them closer to you so you can remain in an upright supported position and not lean in to them too much.

If bottle feeding or nursing, use a nursing pillow to provide support for your arms while holding your baby. 

 

5. Exercises

Healthy mother and baby making gymnastics

Exercises to strengthen your core can help to minimize the risk of back pain after having your little one. If you are a post-partum mom, make sure your midwife or OB clears you for physical activity before beginning any exercising. Another consideration is if you had Diastasis Rectii (splitting of your abdominal muscles) during pregnancy. This must be rehabilitated prior to beginning standard core exercises or you risk making the condition worse.

As a chiropractor, I see a lot of pregnant and postpartum women and parents that are sore from the new demands on their bodies. Chiropractic care can help you both during your pregnancy and after baby arrives to stay on your toes and feel great so you can enjoy every moment.


If you are pregnant or are postpartum, contact Stonetown Chiropractic and Wellness Centre to see the many different ways we can help you feel your best.  


Written in part by Dr. Lindsay Drew   adapted from The Ontario Chiropractic Association

 Dr. Lindsay Drew - Chiropractor

Spinal cord bones
Chiropractic

Sciatica

I know the word… but what is it exactly?

If you have ever been diagnosed with sciatica you know how absolutely debilitating it can be. The intense, shooting low back and leg pain coupled with sensations of numbness, tingling, or weakness can make life miserable for even the happiest of people. “Sciatica” is a term that most people are familiar with but many are unclear as to what it actually refers to. So what exactly is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe intense pain originating in the low back and down into the leg and foot. Left untreated, sciatica may cause constant buttock or leg pain coupled with sensations of numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the legs or feet. These symptoms can be the result of many different conditions ranging from those considered more serious (e.g. spinal trauma such as fractures, certain cancers, or spinal cord compression) to those which are more easily treated such as disc herniations, muscle tightness, joint dysfunction, or nerve entrapment. It is only after a thorough history and physical examination that a correct diagnosis can be made and the severity of the condition and prognosis can be determined. Radiographs (e.g. xrays) or advanced imaging such as MRI are sometimes required to make the proper diagnosis. The main takeaway message is if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with sciatica, they should never be ignored and you should be evaluated by a professional!

Treatment for Sciatica

So, now that we know what sciatica is and what can cause it, what can be done to fix it? The good news is that while symptoms associated with sciatica can be irritating and painful, oftentimes they can be successfully managed through conservative treatment alone. If it is determined that your back or leg symptoms are the result of a non-surgical condition such muscle tightness, joint dysfunction, or sciatic nerve entrapment, there are many options for treatment. Spinal adjustments performed by a chiropractor can help restore joint mobility and alignment while Active Release Techniques (ART®) can address most soft tissue components of sciatica by releasing tight muscles, breaking up fibrosis (scar tissue,) and helping free entrapped nerves. ART® and chiropractic adjusting powerfully complement each other by addressing both the joint and muscular components which are responsible for causing many common painful back and leg conditions. Supportive therapies such as massage therapy and acupuncture may also be beneficial for helping to decrease muscle tightness and pain.

The number one question I get asked when first treating a patient with sciatica is “how long is it going to take for this pain to go away?”.  The great news is that sciatica tends to be self-limiting condition.  The vast majority of cases usually resolve within a matter of a few weeks to a month. After the initial phase of care complete and the intense pain has decreased, I usually encourage patients to begin a program of exercises designed to help strengthen spinal muscles, improve core strength, and increase spinal mobility. To help prevent future recurrences, a thorough overview and correction of ergonomic and lifestyle factors (ex. workplace activities, posture, physical activity) which may have contributed to the sciatica developing is also highly recommended.

Ultimately, in most cases sciatica is usually a temporary inconvenience. With a proper diagnosis and correct treatment, you’ll be back to normal in no time at all.

 


Written By Mark Butkus

Dr. Mark Butkus - Chiropractor