This year, it seems that babies were the “in” thing. Everyone around me has been having them, my work colleagues, my sister in law, and the most recent addition to this list is one of my very good friends.
3 weeks into being a mother, apart from being sleep deprived and partially deaf from her son’s crying, my friend started experiencing neck and back pain. She has since asked for some physio advice.
Most mothers of young children experience back or neck pain. The most common cause of this is overuse and tightening of muscle groups around the back and neck. This is the result of repetitive activities such as bending, lifting and from spending time prolonged positions.
Getting in to see a physio or massage therapist with a baby can be difficult, and during Christmas time, it is near impossible.
So here are 4 things mums (and non mums) can try at home to alleviate their aches and pains:
1. Heat pack: This, warmed up for a few minutes in the microwave, can be placed over the area of pain for up to 20minutes. It is a great method of relieving pain caused by tight muscles. And it is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
2. Massage balls: Spikey balls, tennis balls or even cricket balls are excellent self massage devices. They can be used on and around your areas of neck and back pain. For a relaxation effect on the muscle, use a sustained moderate pressure for 30-60seconds over a tight or sore muscle.
3. Stretches: Stretches targeting the scalenes, traps and levator scapulae for the neck, and glutes, quadratus lumborum and hamstrings for the back can be done to reduce pain and stiffness. The best time to sneak these in is during your baby’s nap times! Each stretch can be held for up to 90 secs and make sure the pull is gentle on the muscle to avoid straining.
4. Pick a good chair: Soft chairs, such as lounges, offer no support to sore backs and can easily aggravate a painful area. So if you have back pain, pick a chair that has a firm and supportive back and is a decent height. It is also important to avoid sitting for more than 20mins at a time.
Neck and back pain is a common problem in the general population but mothers are especially susceptible due to the large amount of time they spend in flexed positions looking after their children. If this sounds like you, try a few of these home remedies.
But please keep in mind if your symptoms do not change or back/neck pain include pins and needles, numbness or pain referring to another area, it is best to seek advice from your GP or physio.