Dr Garima Anandani
Nothing compares to the thrill of raising the apple of your eyes. Yet the time spent caring for your loved ones the wrong way can lead to chronic back pain.
Almost eight in 10 people suffer from back pain sometime in their life. While most of these episodes of back pain resolve on their own in about four to six weeks, some develop into chronic back pain. Just as a body is only as healthy as its spine, families are only whole when fathers are in the best of their health. Here is some lowdown on how fathers can take care of their back pain.
Causes of back pain
What causes back pain among fathers? The years spent looking after the young ones can be taxing your back without you knowing it. Here are the reasons causing your back to ache:
Lifting and carrying incorrectly
The most common reason for back pain among fathers is the incorrect method of lifting and carrying their children. Children in their early years gain a few pounds every week. With the increase in their weight, the strain felt by fathers may increase if their back is not prepared to sustain the strain caused by lifting.
Waking up at odd hours
The earlier months with your child can cause you to wake up at odd hours. The intervertebral discs in your back cause your back to become stiff during sleep due to an increase in its hydrostatic pressure. Ensuring your body warms up instead of rising instantly reduces the strain over the structures in your back.
Poor posture and ergonomics
Continuous postures put excessive strain over the muscles of your back giving rise to pain. Sudden twisting movements can injure the structures of the back. Understanding how to change the way of doing things so you can relieve pressure from your back goes a long way.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle does little to prepare the muscles of your back to prepare for fatherhood. As a result, the changes that occur on the arrival of the bundle of joy can cause strain on those muscles due to their inefficient capacity.
5 ways to treat your back pain
Here are some ways that you can protect your back and deal with the pain:
Learning to treat your own back
Pain in the lower back occurs due to injury to the structure in the back. On the onset of back pain, go easy on yourself. Avoid exertion, and use hot fomentation to relieve soreness.
A lot of back pain incidences can be controlled just by understanding the right way of performing activities. When lifting your child, lift them close to your body. Bend your knees and keep back straight. Avoid sudden twisting or lifting.
Using the right furniture and back supports helps in keeping you in the right posture. Ensuring that your workstation, desk at home, baby’s changing area, are all of the appropriate dimensions goes a long way in preventing back pain.
Mind over matter
Having the right attitude towards everything influences the way you work. Stress can cause your posture to become slouched, adding strain over the structures of you back.
What comes first
Prioritising the right way helps you to deal with back pain better. Putting your health first, helps you to take care of your loved ones when they need you the most.
7 exercises to keep back pain at bay
Keeping fit helps in preparing your body for the unpredictable strains that your back has to handle. Maintaining good spinal core muscle strength helps in preventing low back pain. Here are a few exercises you can do on your own.
Bridging helps in strengthening buttock muscles and impact functional activities like walking and standing. Glute bridge is done by lifting buttock muscles while keeping the spine in the neutral position. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Arm and leg raise
On all fours, alternatively, raise opposite arm and leg while keeping the spine in the neutral position. Hold for 10 counts and repeat 10 times. This helps in strengthening abdominal and back muscles.
Bent leg raise
On all fours (having both knees and hands on the ground), raise bent knee while keeping the spine in neutral. Hold for 10 counts and repeat 10 times. This strengthens abdominal and buttock muscles.
Raise your body on forearms and toes. Hold for a minute, and repeat twice.
Squats help in strengthening buttock and thigh muscles along with abdominal muscles. Squat while keeping the back in a neutral position. Do not let your knees cross your toes. Hold for 10 counts and repeat 10 times.
T and Y Raise
T and Y raise can be done either on a Swiss ball or on all fours. These help in strengthening upper back muscles. Hold for 10 counts and repeat 10 times.
On all four limbs keep the spine in neutral and lift one arm and anchor it to the head. Open out the elbow towards ceiling. Hold for 10 counts and repeat 10 times.
Keeping the spine in neutral, raise the upper body up. You can support your neck by holding under your neck. Hold for 10 counts and repeat 10 times.
(The author is Senior Spine Specialist and Clinical Director, QI Spine Clinic)