5 Ways to Reduce Back Pain For Mums | Injury, Back Pain, Physiotherapy, Health Follow my blog with Bloglovin

5 Ways to Reduce Back Pain For Mums

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You may have read the Daily Express' article in Monday’s Issue on the 4 steps to reducing back pain.  If not, they were looking at the 4 steps experts have come up with to reduce back pain.  Whilst all 4 were very useful, we thought we would help you with the finer detail, so you can implement the 4 steps more effectively.  

No.1 - Sit up straight
There is more to sitting properly than just sitting up tall.  Because of the nature of our lives now, we are prone to overusing our back muscles and underusing our core muscles at the back.  By 'just' sitting tall without engaging our core correctly, we can overuse our back muscles further.  Another way to sit up, is to slouch, and then draw yourself up tall by engaging your pelvic floor muscles (the muscles you use when you are bursting to go to the toilet), drawing in slightly from around your belly button, and allowing the pelvis to rotate with you as you sit tall.  Now shrug the shoulders, drop them back and then relax them into their new position.  From side on, there should be a slight curve in your lower spine, but not a huge one as that will aggravate the back further.  By sitting up using the following method, you are sitting up using your core effectively as well as setting your shoulder blades into their proper position, reducing any unnecessary strain travelling down the spine. 

Physio Gail's Top Tip for Mums
'Mum's with new borns spend a lot of time sitting to feed. Sit well and boost your pelvic floor at the same time.’

No.2 - Screen Height
Once you are in this effective sitting position, then set your screen height.  You are unlikely to be able to remember to stay in this position for long periods of time to start with, so pick some key cue to remind you to sit properly - answering the phone, starting a new email, every time you sit down etc.  Each time you do one of these cues, try and sit up using your core properly.

Physio Gail's Top Tip for Mums
'For mums the height of the handle of the push chair can be adapted to the optimum height to enable mum to walk tall and efficiently without slouching over the push chair.'

No.3 - Regular breaks & stretch
Getting up every 20-30min is crucial to reducing back pain, as is stretching. But do you know what areas to stretch?  Sitting down for long periods of the day shortens the hamstrings and chest, combining that with underusing the bottom muscles and overusing the hip flexors, the key areas to stretch are - 

  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteals - bottom muscles
  • Pectorals - chest muscles
  • Hip flexors

Hold each stretch for at least 30sec, every day, making sure you can feel it stretch for the full length of time.  the stretches are best done whilst warm

Physio Gail's Top Tip for Mums
'Pec stretch is key for mums. Pecs get very tight with repetitive lifting, cuddling.'

No.4 - Drink water
Whilst I totally agree, drinking more water is vital to keeping the body hydrated, one of the key areas that increases back pain is how you use your pelvis.  If you have experienced back pain before, or sit for long periods of time, it can cause you to become stiff around your pelvis, making you less likely to tilt the pelvis and use your pelvis properly when lifting, bending, moving etc.  To test if you can tilt yours, stand against a wall with your head, shoulders, bottom and heels against the wall.  Now pop your hands on you hip bones and try and tilt your pelvis forward and backwards without letting anything come away from the wall.  Only perform within comfortable ranges of movement, so do not force ranges that feel awkward. You should feel that the pelvis moves freely both ways, if not, it is an area you need to work on. 

Physio Gail's Top Tip for Mums 
'We should be aiming to drink enough fluid to produce urine which is a light pale colour.'

No.5 - Seek Expert Advice
Yes we have added another tip - don't suffer in silence.  If you are struggling with your back, seek advise from a local physio, osteopath or chiropractor, and ask what exercises you should be doing to help reduce back pain.  As Gail explains 'it may be a very simple problem that can be sorted out easily.'

Next week we explore how to pick things up correctly