You don’t have to be a mom to have “mom back,” but if you are a mom (or dad, or anybody who cares for children,) you’re certainly at higher risk.
Mom back is far from being a medical term, but it describes a malady that’s all too familiar. It’s the slumped, rounded shoulders and head tilted forward and downward that is part and parcel of caring for others – and especially small others.
You may be suffering from mom back and not even be aware of it until you see a photo of yourself, and wonder when you developed such poor posture. If you haven’t started experiencing discomfort from carrying yourself this way, then you’re ahead of the game … but you need to take steps to fix it to prevent back pain problems in the future.
Mom back earned its name from the things that most frequently cause it. Pregnancy and nursing are where it generally starts for actual moms, but then other activities such as carrying children and their ever-growing assortment of must-haves become additional sources for dads, grandparents, babysitters and others.
When you’re constantly lifting something in the wrong way, you end up straining your body and hunching over in response. If you’re also spending time texting or typing on a laptop or computer keyboard, it adds to the problem.
Left untreated, this constant position leads to muscle contraction and strain, and our bodies end up adopting the posture on a permanent basis. At our lumbar spine surgery practice in New Jersey, we see patients suffering from mom back all the time.
There are numerous risks involved with mom back. Not only does slumping forward all the time have a detrimental effect on your appearance, it can have a long-term impact on your back and neck. Poor posture can lead to headaches, while improving your posture boosts your overall health and will make you feel better, look better and actually be healthier.
Though you may not be able to stop lugging your child or their equipment, there are things that you can do to help counter their impact. Here are just a few:
- Find better ways to carry all of that weight. Use a stroller more frequently, if not for your child then for all of their stuff.
- If you’re nursing, use one of the popular supports available on the market instead of leaning over your baby. The child should be lifted up rather than you bending down.
- Be more aware of your posture. There are some inexpensive new wearable devices available that let you know when your posture needs correcting. These are particularly helpful when you’re doing a task that involves bending down or lifting.
- Get into the habit of stretching so that you can put your body back into proper alignment. A few simple stretches a day can be highly corrective of a slouching posture.
You can’t do everything you need to if you’re in constant pain, so if mom back becomes more than a distraction, book an appointment with our lumbar spine specialist. We will diagnose your problem and help you find ways to ease your pain.