I often get asked what kind of conditions I treat most often. Is it dodgy shoulders, or dicky knees or a tight Quadratus Lumborum? My answer ……… Motherhood. While definitely not a “condition”, it is undoubtedly the cause of many musculo-skeletal aches and pains!
Mothers of new bubs with their tight necks and stiff upper backs from the constant carrying, breastfeeding and picking up. Mothers of toddlers with their headaches, their nagging shoulder pains and achey backs due to holding a screaming and tantruming 15 kg ball of energy. Mothers of teenagers that have had niggles and aches and pains for years, but have not had the time to do anything about them. Mothers of kids that have long ago left home but who have had hip and back pain ever since their last pregnancy.
As a dad and watching my amazing wife “do motherhood”, it is obvious that being a mother is a uniquely wonderful experience. However, it is without question, also the biggest physical stress that has ever been placed on her body. Most aches and pains are caused by an accumulation of mechanical stress on the joints and muscles. Our bodies respond to mechanical irritation by an inflammation reaction and when this inflammation reaches a certain threshold, pain occurs. Obviously, a mothers’ body is under constant stress and it is impossible to stop the mechanical irritation from happening completely, but there are ways to minimize the joint aches and pains.
Tips for a healthy back:
• Carry a backpack instead of an over-the-shoulder bag. You Mums carry a crazy amount of stuff in your bags and spreading the load more evenly will help tremendously.
• When picking up your child, bend at the knees and bring them close to your body before lifting. Toddlers could be taught to climb onto a low chair or step so that you don’t have to pick them up from the ground and try to be mindful of not holding them for prolonged periods on one hip only.
• When reaching for something, make sure you don’t twist from your lower back – try to keep your feet pointing in the same direction as you reach. Twisting is one of the worst motions for the lower back as it places a large amount of pressure on the disks and spinal joints.
• Do not stand outside the car and try to place the child in the car seat. Kneel on the back seat as you place the baby into the car seat.
• Do some regular, gentle exercise. This means not only some cardio work, such as walking, but also regular stretching and mobility exercises, such as lying on your back and rocking your knees side to side.
If you do injure yourself, or are experiencing aches and pains that are not going away you may want to consult us at Physique Physiotherapy. Physios are experts at assessing the cause of the mechanical irritation and addressing the issues arising from joint inflammation and muscle overload. Most of the time, chronic pain will simply not just go away. Even if the pain decreases, your motion will still not be as optimal as it was and the pain could easily be triggered again. Address the joint and muscle problems that are causing the pain and you will feel much better.
There are many stresses that go with being a mother. Unfortunately, Physique can’t help with all of those. The lack of sleep, the lack of time and the need to be a multi-tasking machine all appear to be just a natural consequence of motherhood. However, for all the other aches and pains I know that physio works. And being pain free means that all those other things are made just that much easier.
Time to do something about those pains? Take advantage of our Mother’s Day offer. For the month of May every new client to Physique who is a mother gets 75% off their Initial Consultation. Book your appointment now: 5545 1133.