For those who have babies or who work with babies, you know that part of your job is to sometimes carry them around. While it might not seem like it, a baby can be very heavy which can cause back problems. However, there are a few methods that you can use to help prevent back pain when carrying a baby around.
What Causes Back Pain
Back pain is mainly caused when you have a ligament strain. This strain is created either by sudden or awkward movements of the spine. These movements eventually cause pain to the tissues or muscles around it. In extreme cases, it can also cause excruciating muscle spasms which can make it difficult to do even basic movements.
Tips for Carrying a Baby Around Without Hurting Your Back
Below are some tips you can use to help properly carry a baby around.
- Always Bend Your Knees
When many go to pick up a baby, they curve their spine when bending down. However, this is an incorrect method. You are not only putting pressure on your lower back, but can create tension when you lift the child up.
Instead, always lower your body and bend your knees to pick a baby up. By squatting down you are using your leg and stomach muscles rather than delicate back ones.
- Bring the Baby Close to You
It can be easy to reach for a baby to pick them up but this is something you don’t want to do. By reaching out to lift them, it can hurt your shoulders and back because you will apply strange pressure to the muscles. To properly lift the baby, make sure they are close to you, especially near your chest, before you pick them up. This will prevent you from straining your muscles and also make it much easier for you to lift them up.
- Don’t Use a Front Holder
Many parents or guardians often use front holders to keep an eye on their baby. While this might help you to keep a close eye on them, the setup can hurt your back. This is because of the uneven weight distribution which can make your spine bend forward.
- Don’t Keep Your Baby on Your Hip
Many parents often carry their child around with them on the side of their hips. While this might be an easy carrying method at first, it can really hurt your back muscles. This is because of the uneven weight distribution and of the twisting of your arms to one side to keep your child secure.
However, if you prefer to use this method, make sure to alternate between hips every few minutes. This will prevent your muscles on one side from being overused.
- Do a Cross-Body Hold
A cross-body hold involves you picking up your baby at a tilted angle and holding them with one hand across your chest. This not only gives you one hand free, but prevents back strain. With this hold, your baby is also able to move and look around more freely rather than be confined to one angle.
- Watch Car Seat Holders
In addition to carrying your baby’s 7-10 lbs., car seat holders can add much more weight. This can eventually cause back pain because of the extreme weight you keep holding and carrying around. Instead of carrying your baby with their car seat, keep the car seat in your car and lift your child out of it. This can help to reduce the weight you need to carry significantly which can prevent back pain.
Ways to Heal Back Pain
- See a Chiropractor
Using the services of a chiropractor is a very helpful way to relieve back pain. They will work to move your spine in such a way that releases any tension in it. Also known as spinal manipulation, these adjustments involve your chiropractor feeling the area where you are having problems. They will then apply pressure with their hands or with a device to release tension. While it might take a few sessions at first, chiropractic adjustments can help to eventually eradicate back pain.
- Work on Your Posture
One of the best ways to help relieve back pain is to just improve your posture. Bad posture can put pressure on the spine which can make it hard to move around. When picking up a baby incorrectly, it also leads to painful spine ailments, like a slipped disc.
While it can take some time, working on your posture is well worth it. You can do so by keeping your shoulders back and aligned or wear a brace to help you.
- Use Ice or Heat
Ice and heat are great natural methods to use when it comes to relieving back pain. They will not only reduce inflammation, but calm any pain you might be having. Ice is ideal for when you have an immediate burst of back pain while heat is used for stiffness.
- Try Yoga
Yoga will not only help you to relax, but can soothe sore and aching muscles. It also can improve flexibility. By just doing basic stretches it will release tension in your body. This can be done by arching your spine or laying on the ground and stretching your hands forward.
One of the best poses to do for back pain, ironically, is the child’s pose. This involves you laying on the ground facing forward and bending your knees to your stomach. You can then stretch your arms straight out and leave them like this for a few seconds. It not only helps to reduce spinal discomfort, but stress as well.
Picking up a baby can surprisingly be hard work. However, by keeping the tips mentioned above in mind, you can be sure you can pick up these bundles of joy without fear of hurting your back. These methods will also allow you to have more time to spend carrying them around because strange pressure will not be applied to your spine.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Serving Wasilla, Anchorage, and the surrounding communities, Dr. Brent Wells offers patient-centered, personalized, and innovative chiropractic care. A California native, Dr. Wells earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Nevada. He then attended Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon. In 1998, he and his wife Coni moved to Alaska and opened Chiropractor Wasilla. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.