Back care for busy mums
With Back Care Awareness Week this week, the main focus was to get Britain thinking about their posture, moving more and standing while working, I thought we should also focus on busy mums working from home.
So are you a busy mum, rushing about and you only realise at the end of the day that your back aches and shoulders are tense. Maybe you have aches and pains when you get up or after leaning over the iPad or iPhone for that quick organise of play dates/lifts, maybe you carry children, or are you are worried about your pelvic floor? This is all linked to posture and with the wrong spine position, lack of movement or the wrong moment it can affect your back and pelvic floor.
I am very aware of my tense shoulders and sore neck, upper and lower back after it has just “gone” once a year so I HAVE to do Pilates. My back mobility and strength and pelvic floor are top of my list and I’ve helped so many clients with a simple stretch or strengthen that can change their lives.
I have to keep assessing mine and my clients posture as things change and you should too, so when you are slouching on the sofa or leaning to see the iPhone screen as you quickly type think about how you are sitting. If you don’t sometimes ache you are lucky, but like most I’m afraid we start to ache in the shoulders, lower, upper back or in the hips, because of bad habits and maybe even a trapped nerve causing shooting pain down the leg or pins and needles in leg or arm at night? There could be other reasons for this, but don’t just accept it and live with it you can do something!
You may even go to the gym, Bootcamp, run or walk with friends, but aches still come and go and then when your back goes it’s agony. Especially when you have been sitting in the same position for a long time.
It’s not all doom and gloom as you can change your posture, strengthen your core and back or create that strong base. Our muscles have memories but we can recreate the memories to make the muscles support automatically.
Things I advise to help you
Checking your posture and spinal alignment in the mirror or send me a side and front picture. Look at your bad habits ie tense over the iPad, or stirring cooking – I remind myself to stop and pull my shoulders down.
Regular exercise and the right exercise ie Pilates, It gets your brain to switch on core pelvic floor first then move.
Repetition not just 1 day or 1 course of 5 weeks. The exercises Pilates uses are for LIFE!
Get your breathing right as breathing deeply can feel like a massage in the upper back as it can release your thorax/diaphragm.
Do more “core strength” for tummy and back. Yes Pilates can work your core and tummy muscles to help stabilise your back but if you only do sit ups or suddenly lift a heavy object if you haven’t engaged your core or pulled your shoulders down then this will do no good for you.
Balance the exercise or activity you do in the week (ie not only running or bending over a computer or kneeling playing with a small child) so not always working same muscles. So If you do exercise like Bootcamp or the gym, check your posture and ask the instructor to check for you and bad habits. Common sense can show you where you need to change and just some simple tweaks to how you sit, stand or carry can help you.
Prioritise your healthy mobile spine by moving as much as you can, roll, hip circle, curl your bottom under, stretch to the ceiling, side bend, lengthen yourself out. Pilates is an all over body exercise programme balancing out and toning the muscles, also stretching and mobilising the muscles that are over tight and pulling the body out of “neutral alignment”.
Check an exercise and make sure you are doing it correctly. You may be doing exercises like the plank but letting your back sink because your tummy isn’t strong enough and putting strain on your lower back and shoulders and making the back worse. The picture below is good form.
Good form for Plank
Ok, what does this mean and how do you fit it into your busy life?
How to check your posture – Are the shoulders and chin coming forward. Or maybe you have a very curved lower back that can put tension on certain parts of the back or you push the hips forward and lock the knees all you need is a posture analysis and being aware of this can help you think about correcting it.
So Try this standing posture exercise – pull your shoulders back, rib cage in and bottom tucked under. Imagine a piece of string has stretched you up towards the ceiling this is neutral alignment! Try and copy this pose when you can.
But what does this mean? – Find out the right corrective exercise for your individual biomechanics. This diagram is of an overly curved spine caused by various issues including too much sitting, tight hip flexors, or after having children.
In a posture analysis a good teacher can check if one leg is longer than the other or one hip is tight, causing pain and affecting how you walk. A simple check of the hips or the right stretch of the hip flexor at the front of the thigh and stretch for your bottom might correct this problem.
5 top tips
1. Get your posture assessed to make sure the moves are right for your body
2. Corrective exercises – Do daily simple strengthening moves like shoulder bridge, superman and the plank
3. Do daily stretches for hip flexors, hamstrings and chest.
4. Stop slouching
5. Be aware of your posture and self correct bad habits
Try this move at home – good for support or strengthen the back
So the conclusion is to stretch, stretch, stretch and keep moving, I also believe massage, salt baths to relax muscles, using foam rollers to stretch and massage too.
What can you do now
Send me a photo to look at your posture and suggest tips.
Come for a free trail next Thursday.
Back care workshop starting after half term in November, Monday 1.30pm and Thursday’s 10.30.
Or Come for a one to one bespoke exercises.
Let me help you relieve your back pain.
For more info on any of the above please drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org