In today’s post I would like to introduce you to the lovely Hannah Epps (pictured right). Hannah is passionate about Pilates, for strength and mobility. As a mum of 2 she is absolutely obsessed with pelvic floor issues! Hannah’s positive approach to self improvement has proved popular with her clients, some of which she has been teaching for 10 years!
Today Hannah’s post asks is parenting making your back ache and how can you overcome it. I know whilst reading her post I started to sit up and check my posture. It helped me and I hope it can help you.
Is parenting making your back ache?
The school run, breastfeeding, birth, even cuddles can contribute to chronic back ache but it doesn’t have to be something you put up with.
When you think about it, it isn’t surprising that the many tasks you juggle daily in addition to the effects of pregnancy and birth on your body can lead to constant back pain. Pilates specifically deals with these Issues.
So what are the most common causes of back pain for mums?
- Weak or dysfunctional pelvic floor
- Postural changes during pregnancy and after birth
- Age and hormonal changes post natal, Peri-menopausal
- Handling the kids- twisting and leaning
- Pushing a pram
- Juggling everything- general stress on the nervous system
- Overloading one side of your body due to bags, baby or child
- Your “squeezed in” workout
- Abdominal separation
- Stooping over your iPhone or computer
When participants first arrive at my classes, they’ve often put it off for fear that they’ve left it too long. There is no such thing. It really doesn’t take long to start to get back in shape and relieve your back pain, especially if you’ve done exercise regularly in the past. It’s just important to keep moving.
This doesn’t have to be in an exercise class. Making a few tweaks to the way you do daily tasks can make a massive difference to your back.
- Take care when lifting. Bend at the knees not your hips and when the load is heavy and wriggly try to keep it close. Keeping your child closer to you when lifting reduces your risk of injury or back strain.
- When getting your baby or child into a car seat or buggy kneel or squat whenever possible. If you can get in front of your child to get them strapped in it’s much kinder on your joints.
- Use alternate arms when holding or carrying your child. This doesn’t have to be on a busy road, where you’d prefer your strong side but perhaps when you’re at home, use the other side for balance.
- Check your breast feeding posture. Are you stooped or hunched forwards? Is your neck comfortable? Are you having to lean to get a good latch? Could cushions or a better chair help you both out?
- Never twist when you lift. Lift first and then turn. Lift your pelvic floor first before you lift children, shopping or other items. To strengthen gently lift and hold a few times in the day and slowly release to increase the tone.
- Work on your fitness and strength. Perhaps add a walking morning to the school run or park a little further away. Consider a weekly class with friends, a walk or something gentle to get you started. It’s great to do something sociable like joining a Pilates, Zumba or Bootcamp class but take exercise slowly and balance your type or exercise.
- Avoid standing still for long periods of time. Move more.
- Every time you use your iPhone think about your posture. Make it a habit. Are you slouched on the sofa with your head pushed forwards? Could you take a breath and sit up tall?
- Don’t rush. This doesn’t mean be late for everything but taking 3 deep breaths occasionally will calm the tension and help to relax your muscles. If the kids are demanding and not doing as I ask I try and smile before I call/ shout it helps me calm down.
- Don’t overdo it. If life feels busy all the time it’s possible you are cramming too much in. Is there something you could prioritise this week? Something for you? Or perhaps something you need to say no to? “You time” is important as we are helping to raise amazing people for the future but need to make sure we happy and healthy first!
Check Hannah in action by clicking on the video below.
You can find Hannah online by following the below links: