Busy moms may be at greater risk of lower back pain, but some health tips may help

May 4 2011
This year, gift suggestions for Mother's Day abound in health-related ideas. From yoga or aerobics classes to scheduling mammogram appointments, people around the country find thoughtful ways to remind their busy moms about the importance of taking care of their health. 

But what about the spine? It is literally the backbone of everyone's life, and yet it is a part of the body that many people neglect until sciatica or other back pain symptoms develop. Moreover, few people realize that parents - especially those of young children - are at a higher risk if they do not take precautions to protect their back.

Between household chores and lifting a toddler, there are plenty of opportunities for moms to twist their back or pull a muscle. This, in turn, may result in the need for time-consuming physical therapy or expensive spine surgery.

However, following some basic health tips may spare parents from such dire consequences. Experts stress that when picking up the baby, it is best to bring it close to the chest before lifting. In the process, moms should also make sure they don't stretch their arms out or twist the body. In order to pick the child from the floor, parents should bend the knees or squat down and lift with the legs, as opposed to bending down.

According to physical therapy assistant Stacy Terebayza, lowering the crib railing when putting the child in or taking it out can reduce the need for bending down and stretching out the arms, and help protect the spine. When putting the baby in the car seat, kneeling on the seat, rather than bending over while standing outside the car, is the safest approach.

Busy moms may also consider taking 10 minutes to perform back stretches and other exercises when the child is playing or asleep to help relax and strengthen the muscles that support the spine.