Toting Toddlers the Wrong Way Can Hurt Your Back
Kathy, a mother of two toddlers, was scrubbing the kitchen counter when she felt a shooting pain in her back, heard something pop and then fell to the floor. She spent the next 20 hours in bed before she went to see a chiropractor and received some relief. "I could not stand up or support myself," Little said. Kathy's pain was not a result of the cleaning, however. The shooting pain was the climax of days, weeks and months of lifting her two daughters improperly. Kathy said she felt pain while lifting Vanessa, then 20 pounds and 1 year old, in and out of her crib at nap and bedtime. Sometimes she didn't take the time to lower the rail - she didn't want to wake up Vanessa.
Then there were the times she lifted Amanda, who was 2 1/2 and weighed 33 pounds, in and out of the car seat. She also routinely had been picking the girls up from the floor and lifting them from the playpen and high chair."It's just the way life is when you are taking care of two young children," Kathy said."As the baby gets bigger, the worse it gets." "You have to be much more aware," she said. "Parents need to be aware of how they are lifting, then they can overcome it and prevent it from happening again."
Severe pain should be treated immediately, Chiropractors advise. Strengthening exercises and a change in lifting techniques can be the best dose of prevention of chronic back pain. Other changes include:
- Bending the knees and using the legs. Never bend straight over.
- Avoiding awkward positions like the twisting and bending motion when picking kids up.
- Avoiding holding the baby or toddler on one hip all the time; switch positions.
- Lowering the rail on the crib before lifting in and out.
- Keeping the baby close to the body, especially if carrying an infant car seat with a handle.
- Encouraging toddlers who are old enough to climb in and out of the car seat on their own instead of lifting them in and out.
Dr. Zach's Comments:
- Lifting kids can absolutely be a pain, but there are easy and simple ways to prevent these injuries or correct them if they already exist. First. start with the simple advice offered above in this article.
- Second, make it a priority to strengthen your back. Exercise is a vital nutrient your body needs and the old adage holds true, "If You Don't Use It, You Lose It." Regular exercises like weight training, pilates, yoga, etc. are vital to preventing back injury.
- Third, visit your chiropractor. Appropriate lifting and exercise are needed for prevention, but they are not going to help spinal injuries and misalignments that are already there. Only your chiropractor is specifically trained to detect and correct spinal misalignments and injuries.