Injuries can happen to the best of us; whether we are office workers, gym junkies, gardeners or even stay at home mums. In my line of work I treat many mums with young children and newborns and I over and over again I see the same types of injuries.
Firstly, please don’t be under the impression that in order to have an injury there needs to be a trauma to the area such as a knock or bruise. Many injuries actually occur over a long period of time and they have a sneaky way of creeping up on us!
Wrist and elbow pain…This is an extremely common complaint in new mums. Having a newborn can be an extremely rewarding and positive experience but it can also be extremely demanding on your body. Everyone is well aware of the demands of pregnancy but not many people focus on the physical demands of early motherhood.
From the moment that you bring a newborn home you begin to perform repetitive movements that your body is not accustomed to. Things such as holding a baby for hours on end, pating, bathing and changing nappies are all new experiences and your body needs some time to adjust to the change. All of these movements can become quite straining on your arms and hands and overuse of these areas often presents as wrist and elbow pain.
Neck and shoulder pain…Another very common complaint in women with newborns is neck and shoulder pain these complaints often present hand-in-hand with tension headaches. Extra strain on your neck and shoulders can be as a result of breastfeeding and also always looking down at your baby.
Unfortunately, if you are experiencing pain you can’t exactly give up being a mum! But there are certain things that you can implement in order to give your body what it needs to recover.
Be mindful of your posture at all times. If there are activities that you find yourself looking down try to adjust your setup to bring whatever you are looking at up to eye level. Activities such as reading, looking at your phone or tablet and also working on a laptop will all put similar strain on the neck and shoulders and should be minimised.
When breastfeeding, make sure that you are feeding in a chair that has proper support for not only your back but you arms and elbows as well. Although your newborn may not feel heavy keeping your elbows and wrists in a flexed and tense position for extended periods of time is enough to inflame the area.
Applying heat to your neck and shoulders is fantastic for relieving tension. Try to have a heat pack ready to throw in the microwave so that when you do sit down to feed you can also throw the heat pack around your neck and shoulders. Mums are great at multitasking!
Stretching every day is really important. Just spending 5 minutes each day whether it be morning or night can make a huge difference to tight muscles.
A regular remedial massage can do wonders for all areas of health but most importantly it will help keep your body injury free. All the injuries that I have mentioned can be reduced and eliminated with a decent massage. Depending on your current situation and tension levels massage should be performed once to twice a month.
Article by Caitlin Plummer – Owner of Inbalance Mobile Massage
Caitlin graduated from the Australian College of Sports Therapy in 2010 completing an Advanced Diploma in Sports Therapy and Remedial Massage. She started In Balance Mobile Massage in 2012 and has been providing quality treatments in her clients homes ever since.
In Balance Mobile Massage offer a range of remedial treatments and will be introducing memberships later in 2016 in order to make regular treatment affordable for all. To express your interest of to find out more