5 Back Pain Mistakes Moms Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Are you in a cycle of rushing around all day and simply popping a couple over the counter pain meds for your aching back? You’re not alone. Between lugging kids, purses, laundry, you name it, the heavy lifting and back strain for moms is all too real. Luckily, there are a handful of bad habits you can change that can help prevent back and neck pain for good:

Carrying your purse on the same shoulder

In addition to carrying way too much stuff in their purses, women also tend to wear their purse or handbag on the same shoulder each and every time they go out. Chalk it up to ‘old habits die hard’ but this common practice could be placing undue stress on your neck, shoulder, and back muscles.

Overtime, the side opposite of the one on which you carry your purse will start to compensate for the constant tug and pull on the other shoulder. This can cause inflammation, muscle tension, and even headaches. Swap out your large purse for a lighter, smaller bag, or even a backpack; or find a different bag style that more evenly distributes weight, like a crossbody bag or a purse with wider straps.

Cradling your phone

Did the kids lose your earbuds somewhere around the house for the umpteenth time? Many moms can relate. Multi-tasking without them, however, can be detrimental to your neck and back if you are talking on your phone while at the same time cooking or typing, for example.

Cradling your phone neatly between your ear and shoulder may seem like a neat trick, but do this for too long and you can seriously strain those muscles. If you can’t find your earbuds or Bluetooth earpiece, simply put your phone on speaker if your hands are busy multitasking.

Prolonged Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Use

If your daily vitamin regimen is accompanied by consistently popping NSAIDs like ibuprofen for back pain relief, you could be doing more harm than good. Not only do NSAIDs have serious side effects like gastric ulcers, stomach bleeding, and kidney problems, but consistent use might actually mask real pain you should be paying attention to.

Instead of popping over-the-counter pills at the first sign of back pain, try targeted pain relief with a portable TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine, ice therapy, or a massage pillow. Stretching, topical aids or low-impact exercise like walking or yoga can also ease back pain.

Digital Device Use, a.k.a. Text Neck

If you wrap up your day in bed with your neck craning forward and down to stare at your smartphone, you might have what is formally referred to as “Forward Head Syndrome” or text neck. This poor posture habit is a recent phenomenon which accompanies widespread digital device usage, and it could be the reason your neck and lower back constantly ache.

Researchers have found that for every inch your head cranes forward past your shoulders, pounds and pounds of extra pressure are placed on your back muscles simply in the effort to hold your head up against the pull of gravity. Experts recommend practicing good posture with phone use – don’t stare down to text someone, hold your phone up in front of your face. Call people or use talk-to-text instead of texting when possible, and skip smartphone use right before bed where you often end up slouching even more.

Skipping Exercise

Is running the kids around all day, doing chores, and walking the dog not exercise? While those activities do help you burn calories and get stuff done, they’re not dedicated exercise aimed at helping you improve your strength and flexibility. Real cardio exercise actually needs to get your heart rate up and have you breaking a sweat for it to make a real impact on your own heart health.

 

Your back health is affected by your exercise levels as well. Physical activity plays an important role in keeping your core and back muscles strong, in loosening stiff joints, even in relieving muscle tension. Exercise doesn’t have to feel like punishment though – low impact activities like cycling, swimming, hiking, yoga, and dancing all offer back health benefits you can appreciate.

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