Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Posture for New Parents

The birds and the bees have come and gone; spring is over and we are in the heart of summer, the time of the year when the most births take place (at least in America).  This means that there will be a lot of new mothers and fathers out there playing with their children.  Having children can lead to a large amount of added tasks for new parents.  These caregivers will need to lift their children from the floor or bed, carry them for prolonged periods of time, and bend over repetitively to pick up toys or food from the ground.  We all know the old adages: When lifting a box bend the knees, keep the load close, do not use your back to lift.  However, when there is a child involved we all too often throw out these rules of correct body mechanics.  Here are some simple pointers to keep you out of pain with your new activities.

Lifting Your Child
When lifting your child from the floor you should come down to one knee with the one foot slightly forward of the other while keeping your back flat.  You should try to keep your child close to you, using two hands to grasp him or her.  Before attempting to lift you should tighten the core musculature (stomach muscles) in order to keep the back straight.  You should lift with the muscles of the legs to safely return to a standing position.

Carrying Your Child
Often we see mothers and fathers hold their children in one arm with the child resting on their hip.  This can put a lot of stain on the low back since the weighted object (your child) is all to one side.  Instead you should hold your child balanced in the center of your body, holding them closely. 

Picking up Objects from the Floor
There will be many times when you need to bend over and grab toys or fallen food from the floor.  If this repetitive motion is done incorrectly you can cause yourself back pain relatively quickly.  In order to avoid back pain you should keep your back straight with your head in line with your back.  The bending action should take place at your hips, extending one leg straight behind you as a counter balance.  By reaching to the floor in the manner you maintain the low back in a neutral position decreasing any abnormal stresses to your back. 

If you do find yourself with back pain be sure to see a Physical Therapist at Hayashida & Associates for a thorough evaluation and quick recovery. 
“Please be aware that even if your state requires a physician’s referral before you can see a physical therapist, you always have the right to see the physical therapist of your choice.” -APTA


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