Another in our series on wearing while injured, this time we look at bad backs. Previous posts on the topic include shoulder injuries.
Does superman tossing make you double over in pain? Does a dull ache start up in your lower vertabrae as soon as you pick up a ring sling? Welcome to the world of back injury! In this post we’ll look at prevention and cure.
Back injuries come in many shapes and sizes, but some simple rules apply to help avoid those occasional problems caused by babywearing in the first place:
- Start slow. Don’t start tandem wearing your 20kg preschooler at the same time you start wearing you 10kg toddler. If you’re new to babywearing or have taken an extended break, let your body get used to the weight and start out for short periods at a time.
- Lift your child carefully. Some of our wearees can be impressively heavy, others are literally light-weights; but lifting your child is something you do repeatedly every day. Keep your child close to you so that your center of gravity isn’t pulled off balance.
- Bend from the knees, don’t use your lower back as a lever.
- Avoid doing dumb things. Don’t play twister while babywearing. It will be a disaster. Albeit a hilarious one.
Don’t forget that babywearing is not often a cause of back injury if you use your common sense. Thanks to all that marvellous weight bearing exercise, babywearing strengthens the muscles responsible for your core stability, actually helping to avoid back injury. Carrying a child in a supportive carrier is a lot easier on the back than carrying a child in arms for the same length of time. Of course, back carries are also great for encouraging good posture!
While you’re waiting to be cured
If you have an underlying back injury, then professional help is your best option. However, to support the healing of the affected area, there are a number of things you can do while babywearing.
- Only wear what feels good. If front carries are painful, then avoid them. If one-shoulder carries leave you limping, then switch to the two-shouldered variety. When wrapping, carries with multiple layers will generally be more supportive than single-layer carries.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help to get your child onto your back. For many, lifting the child is too much of a strain, however, wearing the child is OK. If you do ask for help, make sure your helper knows exactly what they should be doing and exactly when to stop “helping” with straps and tails.
- Wear carriers that are supportive for the weight you’re carrying. Some brands of carriers are known to be more supportive than others. Do your research, ask plenty of questions, borrow some if you can (see our loaner’s database) and find the right one for you.
- Remember that rest may be the best cure. Less babywearing in the short-term may mean extending your babywearing well into your child’s preschool years.
Have you battled a back injury? Did you babywear while injured? What helped for you? Leave a comment and let us know!