Being a dad is an active job. From lugging around diaper bags and strollers to playing airplane, and from chasing kids around the house to jumping on the trampoline, fatherhood can easily take a toll on your back. When you are in pain, it’s difficult to play with the kids and enjoy other aspects of family life. The good news is healing back pain doesn’t have to be a tedious process. With a few simple adjustments to your daily routine, you will be back to giving pain-free piggyback rides in no time.
Child-Proof Your Body
As parents, we go through extensive measures to childproof our homes. From installing locks on cabinet doors to placing baby gates near stairs, we do what we can to protect our children from harm. But, how are we protecting our bodies from the stress of parenthood?
We’ve all heard the advice ‘lift with your legs.’ When you lean forward with straight legs to pick up a heavy object (such as your growing toddler), your hamstrings stretch and the lower back becomes the primary hinge for lifting. This causes strain on the lower back due to overstretched muscles. When lifting your child to play airplane or toss them in the air, train yourself to squat, bending at the knees and engaging the thigh muscles on the way back up without twisting in the middle. Minimizing bending when playing with your kids can also keep your back safe. Instead of hunching over, get on your knees at their level and see the world from their point of view.
Perfect Your Posture
Have you ever told your kids to sit up straight and not slouch? How are you at modeling this behavior for them? Healing back pain can come from an action as simple as improving your posture.
When standing, your head should be lined up with the backbone, with your shoulders back and abdominal muscles engaged and straight. When seated, your posture should remain the same with both feet flat on the floor. Slumping over or crossing your legs puts pressure on your muscles and doesn’t allow them to properly line up. Dads who have a long commute to and from work and are experiencing back pain may need to examine the way they are sitting in the car and adjust accordingly.
Healing your back pain may require you to think about your mattress. Super soft mattresses may seem comfy at the store, but they do not offer your body the support it needs. Rather, they end up stretching ligaments and muscles beyond their comfort zones and cause back pain. The opposite is also true: If your mattress is too firm, your body will be put in rigid, uncomfortable positions that can also lead to pain. The goal is to find a mattress that provides support, but is also comfortable.
While everyone holds their stress in different areas of the body, the shoulders and back are common places for stress related tension. If you notice your shoulders rising while you are working or playing, taking a few moments to lower them and breathe deeply. This simple exercise will go a long way for releasing stress and aiding in healing back pain.
By following these simple practices, you will ensure a healthy back for endless hours of pain free play time with the kiddies.