By Jane McClurg 5th May 2017
As a mum I know what it’s like to constantly lift and carry a wriggling sack of potatoes ...your child! The whole process of pregnancy and birth can leave a lot of women with back pain, and then there are the holding patterns we create to breastfeed and carry our children.
Do you get a burny ache between your shoulder blades? Or a sharp grabby pain around the top of the glute muscles? Or a deep ache on one side of your lower back?
Common issues include sciatica pain, hip and lower back pain and pain between the shoulder blades all caused by the massive shifts in the body and new patterns of movement and constant lifting...not to mention the lack of core stability and time to exercise.
Regular massage can be a huge help in reducing this pain and doing some simple exercises at home can keep you pain-free.
One of the best ways to be preventative is to be strong and fit before you become pregnant and during your pregnancy...I used Lorraine Scapens Pregnancy Exercise online program before and after pregnancy which was fantastic. www.pregnancyexercise.co.nz
What would you expect when you come for your massage appointment
Firstly we look at your posture for clues to what may be causing the pain and we also ask lots of questions about your symptoms, daily activities such as feeding times and how often you hold your baby or child and past injuries. Next we may do a few muscle tests, and check your core stability (extremely important to regain after child birth).
Then of course, on with the massage. Working to your pressure tolerance we would work through the target muscles we have identified as being the problem areas. You can lie on your side if lying face-down is still uncomfortable.
Some of the common problem areas we see in new mums are between the shoulder blades, which can get very sore and aching, even a burny feeling. This can be due to lengthening out of the Rhomboid muscles and Levator Scapula as you hunch over your baby to breast feed.
Top Tip: Use a feeding pillow to lift baby to you and make sure you have a small pillow behind your lower back too. Make sure you look straight ahead most of the time and not down at your baby the whole time too (as tempting as that is!).
If it’s your lower back or hips that ache, we would release those tight muscle and any trigger points that maybe causing the ache. We may also look at massaging your quads and hip flexor muscles depending on what was indicated in the postural assessment.
Top Tip: Engage your core muscles (gently suck your belly button towards your spine and engage your pelvic floor muscles) and bend at your knees when you pick up your baby or toddler...and definitely don’t bend and twist!! Also try to keep your child close to your body as the further out you hold them the heavier they are!
Top Tip: Bridging is a great exercise to do while baby is having tummy time on the floor. Lie on your back with your knees bent and slowly lift your bottom off the ground by engaging your core and squeezing your glute muscles. Almost if your rolling it off the floor one vertebrae at a time and slowly down again.
After your massage you may be given some homework...oh no not homework!!
Yes, a few stretches or simple activation exercises to do daily to get the right muscles working in the right order to support your back and shoulders and keep you pain-free.
This is crucial, helping yourself is one of the most empowering things you can do. It should only take about 10 minutes a day to do your exercises and stretches.
Top Tip: Set your alarm to remember to do your daily exercises, consistency is king!
Top Tip: A heat pack like a wheat bag can do wonders for sore achy muscles and highly recommended after your massage too.
We at Balance are here to listen to your needs and we can incorporate relaxation into your treatment session too as we understand that being a busy Mum you need your time-out too!
So all you people out there with Mum’s, now is the time to treat her with a massage.
So call Balance today and let us help you have a pain-free, stress-free day! Ph 378 0059