How to Keep Up with the Kids….and not Get Hurt!
Many of the patients I see are new parents, new grandparents or even aunts/uncles. A well-established study states that children suffer fewer injures while spending time with grandparents and family members than when they are with other caregivers.
Unfortunately, as you may already know, even the youngest and fittest family members can get aches and pains with the addition of a new child.
The most common areas of vulnerability in those caring for children are the shoulders, neck, back, and knees.
Here are some tips to stay pain free
- Engage your “Core”
- Squeeze your gluts and bring your belly button to your spine
- This activity will help “brace” yourself prior to lifting and bending
- Planks and Side bridges can work these deep muscles
- Don’t Overdo It
- Any repetitive motion can cause serious damage, especially if you are not used to doing it
- When your children/grandchildren want to keep playing, listen to your body
- Stop when you get tired, convince the kids to take a break, or at least change the activity
- If you don’t use it, you will lose it
- Repeatedly going up and down off the floor can have a real impact on your body
- Maintaining an active lifestyle is an integral part of keeping joints healthy and effectively lubricated
- Any type of physical activity is better than none!
- Changing Diapers
- Leaning over and changing diapers on the floor is bad for your back
- Put the baby down on something waist high, like a changing table
Cribs are Killers!
- When you’re lying your baby in her crib, hold her close to your chest
- Spread your feet hip-width apart
- Bend your knees to squat slightly before lowering the baby down
- Avoid twisting and activate the abdominal muscles to protect the lower back
Posture, Posture, Posture
- When picking up the child, bend at your knees, not hips
- Squat….dont Stoop!
- Hold the child close to your body so it is closer to your center of gravity
- Keep your shoulders back; and avoid slouching
Babies younger than 6 months
- Keep the baby close to your spine and midline
- Hold them at your side, with their legs hugging your back and front
- Use your bicep rather than the hand, wrist, or forearm to bear the weight
Older than 6 months
- Baby Bjorns, traditional African carrying cloths and other carriers get your baby “as close to your spine as you can get”
- This minimizes the stresses on your lower spine and, in turn, decreases the chances for disc herniations
- Adjust the straps to balance the weight of your baby between your shoulders and hips, and hold baby close to your chest
Some Exercises to Prevent Injury and Maintain a Healthy Spine
Lifting your Baby Out of Crib
Bending and reaching compresses your spinal disks This can cause achiness and even long-term back problems.
- Cat-Camel Stretch
- Get down on all fours with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips, neck in line with your spine.
- Slowly round your back by tightening your abs and tucking in your pelvis; hold for five seconds.
- Then allow your back to sag toward the floor as you lift your chest and head; hold for five seconds.
- Repeat the combination 10 times
- Bird-Dog (Alternate)
- Come into the same starting position as you did for the cat-camel stretch
- Keeping your abs tight, raise your right arm in front of you as you extend your left leg behind you
- Hold for five seconds; repeat on the opposite side to complete the set.
- Do two to four reps
Running After your Baby
Simply walking with your kid requires more strength than you think You’re actually standing on one leg 60 to 70 percent of the time
Bending and reaching compresses the disks and tightens the hip flexors
- Hip Flexor Stretch
- Come into a lunge position with your left leg forward, knee over your ankle, and your right knee on the floor
- Press your hips forward so you feel a stretch in the front of your right thigh
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times, then switch legs and repeat
- Shoulder Bridge (Alternate)
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart, heels slightly in front of your knees
- Rest your arms palms-down at your sides
- Inhale and pull your belly button in toward your spine as you slowly curl your back off the floor, pressing your feet into the floor to engage your glutes
- Hold for up to five seconds, then slowly roll down to starting position
- Repeat two to four times.
Wearing a Diaper Bag
Having children means you’ll be toting their toys, snacks, and much more wherever you go Be careful that you’re not making one shoulder do all the work This can results in keeping the shoulder shrugged Shoulder pain travels — you could end up with an achy neck and back as well
- Neck and Shoulder Stretch
- Sit on a backless chair with your feet on the floor
- Place your left arm behind your waist and grasp your left wrist with your right hand; gently pull your left hand toward the right side of your body
- Keeping your shoulders level, squeeze your shoulder blades back and together
- Hold for up to 30 seconds; release and switch arms