Mum Problems: Back Pains
Since becoming a mum, there have been a lot of changes to my body and one of them is that I frequently have pains in my back. There are many causes for the pains:
- Breastfeeding in sometimes awkward positions
- Carrying my baby on my hip meaning I twist my body in an unergonomic way
- Carrying my baby in a sling (better than the hip, but still causes strain on my back)
- Sleeping in strange and uncomfortable positions when sleeping next to my baby (usually in the early morning hours and sometimes all night if she’s teething or ill)
- Crawling and sitting on the floor a lot (also bad for my knees!)
- Bending over to lift my daughter or to clean up toys (a millions times a day…)
- Lifting the pram when getting it out and putting it away and pushing a heavy pram
- Sitting in odd positions at my desk working because sometimes my daughter needs to sit with me or sleep on me as I type
As you can see, there are many ways in which my back is getting strained every day. There are probably more that I can’t think of right now too, because I’m sleep deprived!
Around Christmas time, I developed a chronic back pain because at nearly 12 months old, my daughter was ill for the first time and clung to me 24/7. We were travelling at this time and that made everything extra difficult. She wouldn’t be with anyone else and had to be carried by me in my arms or in the sling and had to sleep close to me at all times. She was coughing loads, nose dripping and had a fever so the nights were hard! The cold lasted for weeks, too.
During and after that Christmas trip my back was so painful everyday and it stayed like that for months.
Around 80% of adults in the UK will have problems with back pain in their lifetime and it’s becoming a problem because people seem to suffer in silence, not knowing what kind of treatment is available.
Most cases of long term back pain is non-specific, meaning it doesn’t arise from a particular medical condition (disease, fractures, slipped discs etc.) but from the structures of the back. This is triggered by how we use our backs and how we look after at and like for me, many common lifestyle practices, can cause and make the problem worse.
I’ve received some tips from chiropractor Dr Steven Geanopulos on how to help alleviate this form of long term back pain and have actively tried to think of how I use my back in everyday life and am happy to say that my back is much better now. I have to constantly think about it though and some days I still get pains (after a bad night’s sleep, for example).
Below is the advice from Dr Steven Geanopulos:
Lack of regular movement can contribute to issues with the spine and degeneration of spinal joints, so physical activity in the form of regular exercise is essential to care for the back. Controlled movement of the spine can also help those suffering from long term non specific lower back pain; a new study suggests that a device called Kyrobak – which delivers a unique combination of Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) and Oscillation Therapy (OT) – significantly reduced pain scores in long term non specific lower back pain sufferers after just 10 minutes of use per day for 3 weeks.
Prolonged stress can lead to exacerbation of pain due to the release of the hormone cortisol and increases in muscle tension. Mental stresses are often best dealt with by addressing state of mind, and meditation – or simply periods of quiet reflection- can help with this. Engaging in activities such as yoga and Pilates which have been shown to help with stress and anxiety are also positive steps to take.
Ongoing poor nutritional choices and carrying excess weight can damage health long term, and contribute to exacerbation of inflammation and lower back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore key. Opting for a nutritious, well balanced diet and eating small, healthy meals and snacks on a regular basis can mean you are less likely to let extreme hunger dictate what you eat, helping to avoid the high calorie, high sugar options which lead to weight gain.
I think the movement advice is the key for me. I need to make sure my back is strong and try not to get stuck in unergonomic positions. De-stressing is always important but difficult for busy mums! I’ve not got a problem with my weight, but if you do, it can definitely make back pains worse. I’ve also tried a product from Kyrobak; their PressurePoint Pillow (not the one mentioned above). Read my review here.