New research commissioned by the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia (Victoria) in which 1,000 women with children under the age of 6 were surveyed, revealed that 9 in 10 women experience neck and back pain during pregnancy, and 4 in 5 new mums experience it to the extent that it disrupts their daily lives.
When you consider the kinds of strenuous activities mothers perform on a daily basis, it is perhaps little wonder that we encounter these difficulties. An average mums spends 1.5 hours per day carrying her child on her hip, 2 hours breast or bottle feeding, and almost an hour lifting, picking up and putting down their child. Let’s not forget the bending to strap children into high chairs or car seats, and bending over to change nappies too.
The good news is that there are a number of ways we can combat this problem, and being mindful of our posture and lifting techniques is a great place to start. President of the Chiropractic Association of Australia, Dr Helen Alevaki, also recommends the following easy, gentle exercises that can be done to slowly improve the core, post pregnancy and birth;
The simplest way to explain how to perform this exercise is to practice while going to the bathroom, because you need to strengthen the muscles that help you not to pee when you sneeze, laugh, and/or cough!
Only do this once or twice and only if you feel strong enough. Squeeze the muscles that stop the stream of pee.
1. Squeeze and hold for time -as the muscles get stronger, you can hold for longer
2. Elevators imagine that your pelvic floor has 3 levels. Pull up to
floor 1, then up to 2, then 3.
3. Elevators 2 pull up to floor 1 and then back down, up to 2 & back down, up to 3 & down.
You can perform these in a variety of positions, but if you are unfamiliar with the pelvic tilt, lie on the floor, knees bent, feet flat. You have a natural curve in your lower back and you should be able to stick your hand underneath. Tuck your tailbone under and flatten your back onto the floor.
Release and hold. Repeat 10-12 times. This is great to do while your baby is lying on the floor with you.
Place hands on lower part of your belly, underneath the belly button. Draw belly button to spine and hold for 10-12 seconds.
Starting on all fours (knees under hips and wrists under shoulders), pull abdominals in tight, belly button to spine, and relax the shoulders. You are not sucking in, you are contracting the abdominal muscles. Lower your belly button to the ground as you stretch your chest forward and feel the stretch in your abdominal muscles. Draw your belly button up and round your back like a cat, relax shoulders. You want to feel the stretch in the lower and mid parts of your back. Repeat 10-12 times, moving slowly through the movements.
In addition to this, chropractic care can be an effective, natural and safe treatment option.
For more information on chiropractic, or to find a local chiropractor you can visit The Chiropractic Association of Australia’s website here.