Spine Expert Explains Why New Motherhood Can Be a Pain in the Neck and Back, and What You Can Do About It

Share Article

Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr. Shares 4 Valuable Injury Prevention Tips for Moms

The biggest problems tend to occur after delivery, when new elements like car seats and cribs enter the equation, complicating proper lifting techniques.

New motherhood is often a time of excitement, challenge and joy. Yet, for many new moms, it can also be a real pain in the neck…and back. According to Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr., a pioneering neurosurgeon and founder of DISC Sports & Spine Center, the potential for spinal injury—pain, disc rupture, fracture—to new moms is highest in the two years just after childbirth, even though people incorrectly assume it’s while a woman is still pregnant.

“During pregnancy, the fetus is tucked into the curve of the spine, which centers and balances the weight inside the body. Serious back pain and complications within those nine months are actually fairly limited,” Dr. Bray explains. “The biggest problems tend to occur after delivery, when new elements like car seats and cribs enter the equation, complicating proper lifting techniques. When you lift with outstretched arms, this is where the injuries start occurring.”

Beyond poor lifting technique, factors like weight gain, sleep deprivation and loss of core trunk strength can increase the potential for spine injury in new mothers, and the risks only increase as the baby transitions to toddler.

“As a child grows, the related equipment gets heavier, and the mother is now reaching deeper into a crib to pick up her child when injury strikes. By the time I see many new moms, they’ve exacerbated an issue for months. The key is to address potential injury triggers early, before real problems manifest,” he explains.

To help new moms prevent spinal injuries, Dr. Bray has provided the following four tips:

1. Get fit to lift – While exhausted new moms may cringe at the thought of exercise, or wonder where they’ll possibly fit it in, a regular fitness routine—of even 20 minutes per day—will go a long way in preventing injury by rebuilding core trunk strength lost during pregnancy. With a doctor’s clearance, start as soon as reasonably possible, and ease into it with Pilates, an exercise bike or elliptical machine.

2. Eat for you – A return to pre-pregnancy weight is also key in preventing injury caused by unnecessary strain on overstretched muscles. You’re no longer eating for two; you’re eating for you. Love your body back to health with good choices. No crash diets, supplements or deprivation. Amid the crazy whirl of new motherhood, it’s easy to seek those quick fixes, but—thankfully—even most fast food chains now offer healthy options.

3. Find rest for the weary – Let’s face it. A new baby is almost synonymous with no sleep, and you’re far more likely to be injured when you’re over-tired. New moms have to get creative with this tip, but it’s worth it. Give your body rest by fitting it in whenever it’s possible, even if this means taking a couple of cat-naps during the day. Build them into your baby’s sleep patterns and keep a favorite pillow or sleep mask handy.

4. Lift for Success – When lifting or carrying your baby, keep the weight as close to you as possible to help maintain your center of gravity. Slings or front carriers are optimum in the beginning. When using a car seat, try not to bend over to lift your child, but rather scoot in next to it to either unhook the seat or—ideally—unhook your child without lugging the car seat with you. At sleep-time, use a basinet with low bumpers in those early months, so that you don’t have to bend over and reach inside. As your baby transitions to toddler, resist the urge to straddle him/her on your tilted hip, as this position can throw off your axis by 30 pounds, taking with it everything else. Lastly, until you get your muscles back in shape, consider wearing an ab or corset style brace.

About DISC Sports & Spine Center
DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced microscopic techniques. DISC’s highly specialized physicians apply both established and innovative solutions to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate their patients in a one-stop, multi-disciplinary setting. With a wide range of specialists under one roof, the result is an unmatched continuity of care with more efficiency, less stress for the patient and a zero MRSA infection rate. DISC’s ambulatory surgery centers include Diagnostic and Interventional Surgical Center and DISC Surgery Center at Newport Beach, both accredited by the AAAHC. DISC is also the official medical services provider for Red Bull and a proud partner of the LA Kings. In addition, as a former official medical services provider for the US Olympic team, DISC has successfully treated many of the athletes who participated in London with minimally invasive techniques. For more information, contact 866-481-DISC or visit http://www.discmdgroup.com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Garrett Bray
Visit website