Repetitive strain injuries are quite common in parents and caregivers due to the repetitive bending, carrying and lifting of babies, their toys and their accessories. Often these activities are done numerous times in a day and in various awkward positions. The repetitive motions of parenting can lead to injuries involving the wrists, elbows and the spine. Here is a list of 3 of the most common injuries experienced by a new parent.
This particular injury is often the result or repetitive lifting of baby ,diaper bags etc. When repetitively lifting a baby or their accessories, you don’t often pay attention to your wrist and thumb posture. Keeping the thumb in an over extended position as you do these activities is what will lead to this specific type tendonitis, called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis or Mothers wrist. Symptoms will often include pain around the base of the thumb and wrist.
To avoid this injury stretching and strengthening the muscles that support wrist when lifting are import. Here are 2 exercise to try:
Stretch the wrist and thumb
With your palm facing up, push your fingers down towards your wrist until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Then reverse and keep your palm facing down as you push your fingers down towards your wrist. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your forearm. Repeat 2 sets holding for 30 seconds in each direction.
Strengthen wrist and thumb
Rubber Band Exercise
Put an elastic band around your thumb and fingers. Then slowly move the thumb and fingers against the resistance of the band. (Repeat 10 times 3x per day)
Neck pain and upper back pain is often a result of being hunched over while bottle or breast feeding baby. Symptoms will include stiffness in the neck and upper shoulders as well as headaches and back pain.
Here are some things to keep in mind when feeding baby:
Be mindful of your posture. Draw your shoulder blades back and away from your ears. Think about squeezing your shoulder blades together while holding baby.
Also, for moms, staring at baby while breast feeding can be a bonding experience, but once baby has a good attachment, try to lift you head up occasionally to take some pressure of the neck and spine.
Car seat Elbow
Elbow and forearm pain is often the result of lugging around heavy babies in car seats. Car seats are not designed with ergonomics in mind, they are designed for safety. Therefore, carrying them around for long periods can strain the muscles in the wrists and forearms resulting in a condition called car seat elbow which can often mimic tennis elbow.
To prevent this injury from happening do not carry the car seat towards one side of your body or have it resting on your forearm like you would a purse or handbag. This can put additional stress on the shoulder and your forearm. Car seats should be carried by the handle with both hands and elbows bent, with placement directly in front of your body with weight evenly distributed.
If you do have symptoms that are preventing you from carrying out your activities of daily living than it is recommended to seek the advice of a health practitioner.
More knowledge: Check out this informative article on how to stay fit during pregnancy.
Author: Dr. Nekessa Remy is a regular contributor to Optimyz Magazine and is a chiropractor, a registered and medical acupuncturist and one of Canada’s fastest rising and sought-after health and wellness experts in the industry today. She is the current owner of Mississauga’s The Chiropractic Office, a comprehensive injury management clinic focused on sports-related injuries and woman’s health issues. She also runs a practice in downtown Toronto at Integra Health Centre where she works amongst other leaders in the healthcare field.