Back pain is one of the most common sources of pain and disability in the adult population. A majority of people, over 80% of all adults, will experience episodes of lower back pain throughout their life. If you have to carry or bear heavy loads, your chances of experiencing rises significantly. So, it should be no surprise that most pregnant women and new mothers are particularly susceptible to it. That’s all part and parcel of the experience, unfortunately. But if it’s not looked after, it can become chronic, so how do you make sure you’re not putting your back in real danger?
Take your mind off it.
Being told to focus on curing mental stress to alleviate back pain might seem like it’s just an attempt to ignore the problem or distract yourself from it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mental stress and physical stress have a huge link. Stress changes your physiological state, causing you to physically tense up, and muscle tension will worsen your back pain. Stress-relieving methods such as meditation, aromatherapy, and hobbies also trigger a release of endorphins, which can help alleviate your pain. Stress and strain are part of a cycle, each feeding into one another, so it’s essential to tackle both elements at play.
Lift the right way
The most significant cause of back pain in pregnant women and new mothers is, of course, your child. Love them as much as you want; you’re probably hurting yourself with the amount of carrying you do. When pregnant, finding the opportunity to take the weight off is important because it’s always there. Post-pregnancy, you can help yourself by watching how you lift your child. Bending correctly and lifting with your knees, not with your waist, is essential, because it distributes the weight more evenly through your legs, as opposed to focusing it all on your back. Try to avoid picking them up and putting them down every five minutes, too. It’s repetition of the most powerful aspect of the act that causes the most pain, not just carrying them for long periods of time.
Take a break
You can address both the physical and the mental stresses at the same time by just giving yourself the opportunity to take a break more often. If you’re struggling with back pain, ask your partner to pitch in more often. If they’re not available or you don’t have one, look to others for help. A lot of women feel guilty about asking family members to babysit, and if you do it too often, it’s true that you might be taking advantage. But you shouldn’t feel guilty about asking for help when you’re genuinely in pain. Taking a night off to go out for a meal or to the cinema can get you away from the physical strain as well as helping you tackle the stress of motherhood.
Your posture has a great deal to do with back pain as well. Make sure you support yourself well both when standing up and sitting down. Standing with a flat back, sticking your bottom out as you stand, and leaning on one leg are all more likely to cause back pain. The most dangerous of all posture problems, however, is how you sit. You need to get into the habit of sitting without a slouch. To that end, ergonomic seats that provide proper neck and lower back support can be crucial tools. This is especially true if you work at home while looking after your child or simply use the internet often.
Lie back and relax
The bed can play even a more significant role in relaxation and address the physical strain of stress than the chair. Back pain and stress play an adversarial role to sleep, and getting enough sleep, in turn, can help address those issues. Finding ways to relax and ease the physical pain before bed is important. But choosing the right mattress for those with back pain is just as important. Your bed should be able to offer enough comfort, but also support based on your sleeping posture (on your side, on your back, etc.). Memory foam is an excellent material for its ability to mold to your sleeping position, offering some flexibility without giving up support entirely.
Just the right touch
As well as finding the ways to find your pain relief and relaxation, you shouldn’t assume that another pair of hands can’t be just as helpful. In particular, massage therapy can be a wonderful source of relief from back pain, depending on what the cause of back pain is. It does a lot more than feel good and help you relax. It improves blood flow and circulation, opening up sore muscles to help them recover. It decreases the tension that can cause and exacerbate back pain in the first place. It also produces those endorphins we mentioned, chemicals that make us feel good. Just make sure that you get checked by your doctor before you book any massage appointments. There are some types of back pain that it may not help with.