Proud New Parents: What You Need To Know

I have been a parent for a little over a month and already I feel how hard it is to be a parent. No, I am not talking about lack of sleep or other things that is expected when taking care of a baby who is entirely dependent on the parent. What I am talking about is the physical demands that is taken on the body while having to carry and transport the new born around. Many patients of mine complain about low back, neck and shoulder pain often related to being a parent of young children. Now that I am a parent, I started feeling the same type of issues which made me re-evaluate the way I was handling my newborn.

Some pains that I have started noticing:

  • Low Back Pain when lifting the car seat out of the car or stroller
  • Shoulder Pain when carry the car seat around with one arm
  • Neck Pain and Headaches from constantly tilting my head to one side while carrying my baby

As a chiropractor, I often see postural distortions in my patients: A high shoulder here, a low hip there, etc. These positions don’t occur after one event, but rather after numerous microtraumas. Most often microtraumas (small injuries to the body) cause an inflammatory reaction that may not even be felt. However, when our bodies experience repetitive microtrauma the development of more serious conditions often arise, including pain.

Parents are not exempt from putting their bodies through rigorous activities in order to transport their children, often resulting in microtrauma and postural distortions. There are many baby carrying options developed to help parents and children travel comfortably, whether it is across the house or across the country: strollers, car seats, on the hip/piggy-backs, Cloth Carriers (used around parent’s body), Baby Bjorn and many more! In order to prevent faulty biomechanics of the spine resulting from postural distortions knowing the proper way to utilize these baby carriers are the first step!

Strollers:

Just like your desk in your workplace, ergonomics is key. First purchase one that fits, just like a good desk chair. It is essential that you can take full strides while pushing the stroller, this may be more difficult if you are either very tall or shorter.

When pushing the stroller try to keep in mind:

  • Keep head and chin parallel to the ground
  • Keep ears over shoulders (The ear should be directly over the top of your shoulders)
  • Lead with your chest, shoulders and arms should remain relaxed.
  • Keep wrists neutral.
  • Engage core abdomen muscles, and belly breathe as much as possible!

Car Seats:

How many times do we see parents struggling with the diaper bag on one shoulder and the car seat being carried in the other? While the ability of snapping into the stroller is a wonderful invention, parents often use this as the main transportation method. It’s best to take the child out of the car seat and carry in an alternative carrier, rather than torquing your spine. And if you are carrying just the car seat, Do Not hold with one arm but cradle it in both arms next to your body. When you hold it with one arm, you put a lot of strain on your rotator cuff while trying to hold the car seat far enough away from your body so that you can walk.

When lifting a car seat out of the stroller/vehicle, remember you're lifting a heavy, bulky item. Engage core and lift with your legs

Carrying child on the Hip:

When parents lift their child to their hip, they often are in a rush or need to do something where they can utilize their hands while keeping a watchful eye on their child. Again, alternate baby carriers would be preferred but while carrying on hip remember:

  • Keep spine neutral- try not to slouch.
  • Don’t protrude one hip out to rest child, instead maintain hip over knee over ankle position.
  • Switch hips. Often when talking to mom’s they say they always carry purse/diaper bag on one arm and hold baby on the opposite hip. This screams microtrauma. Altered posture is bound to arise unless you are keeping good balance.

Fabric Carriers:

Probably one of the best options for ergonomics of mommy or daddy & baby. Not only are hands free to work, baby can sit comfortably, while strapped onto either the parents front or back. “Baby Wearing” has tremendous baby-parent contact time which stimulates neurological, emotional, physical & social development.

Keep spine neutral, abdomen braced and ears over shoulders while carrying baby either in front or on back.

Regular Chiropractic Check-Ups:

Anytime your body is enduring stress it is best to see your chiropractor, whether it be physical, emotional or chemical stressors. Postural adaptations while learning to ergonomically transport your baby may affect your spinal joints. It is important to recognize any discomforts related to transporting your baby early on: fatigue, pain, muscle tightness, sensitivities etc. Your child can also get a chiropractic exam after birth to prevent spinal misalignments which when addressed early may prevent abnormal development. Spinal stress eventually leads to nervous system dysfunction, so eliminating this as soon as possible encourages optimal body functioning for the entire family.

Olympic Fashion Statement: What's up with the colored tape?

What is Kinesiology Tape?

Bright-colored strips of tape in odd patterns are increasingly being seen in the Olympics, most noticeably in beach volleyball. Kinesiology tape can help take pressure off overused muscles, reduce swelling and alleviate pain from injuries. Kinesiology taping, developed in the 1970s by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase, came to the U.S. in the mid-1990s. Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy, therapeutic tape that can benefit a wide variety of injuries and inflammatory conditions. It is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows it to be worn without binding, constricting or restriction of movement. Kinesiology Tape is made of 100% high grade cotton so it is comfortable and breathable. The 140% elasticity mimics the flexibility of human skin and muscles. The adhesive is heat-activated, light, mild and hypo-allergenic, causing less skin sensitivity or irritability than other tapes

Why use Kinesiology Tape?

Traditional athletic tape is wrapped tightly around an injured area to provide rigid support and restrict movement. It must be removed immediately after activity to restore movement and circulation. Kinesiology tape, on the other hand, is thin and flexible, allowing it to provide dynamic support while still allowing a safe and functional range of motion. Rather than being wrapped completely around an injured area, kinesiology tape is applied directly over or around the periphery of the area. Most applications can be worn 4-5 days, even during intense exercise, showering, bathing or swimming.  Therapeutic benefits accumulate 24/7 for the entire time the tape is worn.

Kinesiology tape can be used to pull back a shoulder that is hunching forward or to reduce swelling in a joint, tape can be used to pull up the skin and create an area of low pressure where fluid can move and drain. Some clinicians believe the tape provides stimulation to skin cells that affects pain pathways—similar to rubbing a spot that hurts. Just a few examples include rehabilitation from sports injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain/pain (subluxation, herniated disc), knee and shoulder conditions.  Kinesiology Tape is growing as a non-drug means to treat joint inflammation and muscle pain using strips of colored tape.

Who can benefit from using Kinesiology Tape?

Kinesiology Tape can be used to help anyone. You don’t have to be a professional athlete or have a sports related injury. It is designed to decrease healing time, decrease swelling and bruising, provide multiple day support, reduce in skin sensitivity, decrease joint pain, and improve posture. These benefits can help anyone injured in physical activities, car accidents, or have chronic inflammatory conditions. Dr. Chris Kelley has been trained to administer the application of Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape and has seen tremendous results with its application.

Can anyone administer the tape?

Essentially anyone can buy the tape and try putting it on themselves. However, this isn’t tape that can be slapped on randomly. It requires proper tension and should be applied in a specific pattern. It is placed in a way to follow the muscles and support the joints. So without knowing how to put it on, you will not be able to utilize the benefits of the tape.

What Conditions can Kinesiology Taping be Used For?

Joint Pain

Arthritis, bursitis, lupus, degenerative joints, poorly aligned joints, joint instability

Muscle Pain

Torn muscles, pulled/strained muscles, tight muscles, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, calf strain, pulled hamstring, groin strain, strained gluteals, abdominal strain

Soft Tissue Injuries

Tendinitis, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfers elbow (medial epicondylitis), patellar tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis, whiplash, back strain, neck strain, rotator cuff injuries, iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)

Joint Injuries

Joint sprains, dislocated joints, sprained ankle, sprained knee, sprained wrist, sprained elbow, degenerated meniscus, torn cartilage, unstable joints, joint hypermobility

Overuse Injuries

Carpal tunnel, repetitive stress syndrome, shin splints, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, tension headaches

Swelling and Edema

Lymphedema, swollen joints, edema, lymphatic congestion, chronic joint or muscle inflammation

Postural Problems

Poor posture, round shoulders, scapular instability, muscle weakness, muscle imbalance, poor muscle tone, hypotonia

Recovery from Surgery

Athletic injury surgery, reconstructive surgery, joint replacement surgery, meniscus repair, ligament surgery, tendon surgery, lymph node removal

Bruising

Bruising following injuries or surgery, contusions

Foot Pain

Plantar fasciitis, fallen arches