As a pediatric physical therapist, I’ve witnessed many parents positioning and playing with their child throughout the day, bending, twisting and contorting themselves into a variety of positions.
I’m sure that you’re busy with doctors’ appointments for your child, consulting with different specialists, connecting with your spouse, caring for other children, cleaning the house, shopping, and organizing…
The last thing you have time for is to go to the doctor because your back is hurting you.
In general, people naturally carry stress in their shoulders and neck; and most adults will experience a bout of lower back pain at one point in their lives.
Lower back pain occurs as the result of stress, and/or poor body mechanics during standing, bending and lifting.
I am confident that parents of children with special needs deal with many more stressors than the average parent.
Just stop and think of the number of times that you pick up your child, lift or move equipment, bend over to diaper them, prop them on one hip while holding them, bend down and reach for them while they’re in the bath, all on a daily basis.
For parents of children with mobility limitations who must lift, move, dress, carry and care for their child over time, the overuse and repeated stress to your back can contribute to lower back discomfort and you may feel sore, a dull ache, or worse.
Easy solutions that may help:
- Bend at your knees to lift
- Keep your shoulders in the same direction as your hips and knees, no twisting.
- Tighten your tummy muscles when you lift anything, this will support your back. Sway back postures may increase lower back pain.
- Create time to relax, meditate, or get a massage.
- NSAIDs, hot packs or ice packs may help.
- Hold your child facing you, or away from you in a seated position, at your midline and not propped on your hip.
Remember to keep your body strong and flexible.
Sleep at least 8 hours (sleep helps with cell repair). Drink lots of water (stay well hydrated). Enjoy your child, but don’t forget to take care of yourself!!
Dr Sharon Galitzer