The Risk of Musculoskeletal Problems in Mothers
Brought to you by Vive Health
As a mom, you know that nothing whatsoever will hinder you from wanting to give the best care and quality of life to your family. Being a multi-tasker who has to juggle a lot of daily responsibilities, it’s not surprising for moms to be at risk of suffering from musculoskeletal injuries.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a career woman who has to hustle her way in an office, you are at risk of suffering from knee pain. Knee pain is usually a manifestation of a knee injury such as patellar tendinitis, knee bursitis, and knee osteoarthritis.
Although these injuries may result from a direct blow to the knees, they are often attributed to repetitive movements involving the knee joint such as walking up in an incline, using the stairs, and carrying a heavy load. An excess in body weight, often due to obesity and pregnancy, is also a risk factor for these conditions.
Rest is an important management for knee pain caused by overuse. You can also apply an ice pack to the affected knee to numb the pain and reduce the swelling. Refrain from carrying your baby in your arms for the meantime. As an alternative, you can place your baby in a stroller or you can ask your husband to do the babysitting while you are in pain. Wear a knee brace for additional support and stability.
Hand pain usually manifests in the wrists and fingers. Mothers who regularly use their hands in doing chores such as washing the dishes, chopping ingredients, pulling out weeds, gardening, and washing the laundry are at risk of joint pain in these areas.
The common causes of painful wrists and finger joints are arthritis, wrist tendonitis, and De Quervain’s syndrome (also known as the washer woman’s syndrome). Pain in these areas can make accomplishing daily tasks difficult. Resting the painful hand is usually recommended as these conditions are commonly caused by repetitive strain, constant gripping, and a forceful bending on the joints.
To manage the pain and reduce the swelling, you can apply a cold pack to the affected area. You can also take anti-inflammatory medicines as prescribed by your doctor. Wearing a supportive brace to be used while carrying out daily tasks is also recommended for mothers who cannot afford a rest day.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
Neck and shoulder pains are common, especially in nursing mothers, and are exacerbated by improper body mechanics when holding the baby. If you are a first-time mom, you can experiment with various breastfeeding positions and find what is comfortable for you.
Moms generally prefer the cradle hold position wherein you hold your baby across your chest. Using the arm on the same side as the nursing breast, support your baby’s weight and tilt him towards you, tummy to tummy. Sit up straight on a chair and rest your elbow on the armrest with your baby’s head nestled in the crook of your elbow.
Aside from neck and shoulder pain, breastfeeding your baby and bending over to pick them up repeatedly can lead to rounded shoulders, also known as the mom posture. To manage neck and shoulder pain and prevent rounded shoulders, correct your posture by wearing a posture corrector. You can also perform stretches and exercises for posture correction. Do not forget to use proper body mechanics when doing your daily activities.
Mothers who go to work wearing high heels are at risk of suffering from heel pain. This condition is medically referred to as plantar fasciitis. This condition is characterized by pain and inflammation of the ligament at the base of your foot caused by frequent pounding and repetitive stress. Carrying your baby in your arms the whole day can likewise put stress on your plantar fascia ligament.
To manage this condition, ensure that you rest your foot from time to time. If wearing high heels to work is non-negotiable, opt for a footwear with a wide platform. Instead of stilettos, wear wedges. Do simple stretching techniques and apply a warm compress to relieve the tension in your ligaments.
Aside from your baby’s cry, heel pain can also keep you up at night. As a mom, you need all the sleep you can get. Wear a night splint for plantar fasciitis to help alleviate your symptoms and improve your recovery time.
Although these ailments are somehow expected, it doesn’t mean that you should endure without doing something to prevent and manage these conditions. Note that the musculoskeletal system plays an important role in your mobility, flexibility, and balance. If you don’t address these problems early on through a healthy lifestyle and a proper diet, these might develop into severe forms of overuse injuries in later life.