- You need to understand the risk of repetitive stress injuries as a mother and take steps to prevent them
Becoming a mom affects every part of your body, even if you don’t give birth. You have to get used to being on your feet more and lifting your child. It can be even harder if you have a child with PDA. It can strain your body and cause problems you might not think about until it’s too late. These are a few repetitive stress injuries and how moms can prevent them.
What Are Repetitive Stress Injuries?
When you think about being stressed, you likely picture your mental health deteriorating. While that’s a common way stress affects your health, it can also target your body. Repetitive stress injuries target soft tissues such as:
You may also suffer long-term nerve damage by repeatedly hurting damaged tissue. These conditions get worse because a person uses the injured areas even when they hurt. It’s typically because you can’t take a break from caring for your child, so you might have these pains even if you do your best to avoid them.
Examples of Stress Injuries
How can you tell the difference between a general ache and a stress injury? Read about the most common repetitive stress injuries to see if you currently have any cause for concern.
Upper and Lower Back Pain
Back pain is an inevitable part of parenting. You’ll experience it during pregnancy because your growing belly puts pressure on your intervertebral discs, along with hormones that amplify your pain. After bringing your child home, you’ll carry them through their first few years of life and continue putting more weight on your spine.
If your upper or lower back pain remains noticeable or overwhelming even after taking pain medication, it may be a stress injury. Ongoing spinal cord pain may result in tears or slipped discs that require more serious treatment.
Daily Neck Aches
Holding your child or carrying them in a car seat can also strain your neck. This type of strain stresses your neck muscles and ligaments. You could also get whiplash from checking on your child in the backseat of your car. These injuries don’t typically present bruising, so they may slip your mind until the pain becomes significant.
Shoulder Pain or Tenderness
Picking up your toddler from the floor may channel their weight through your shoulder, resulting in a tear. Injuring your rotator cuff could become a repetitive stress injury if you continue using it after the initial injury. You might experience pain while lying down, even when you’re relaxed.
Continuing to put weight on this kind of repetitive stress injury could require surgery. Depending on your surgeon and your insurance, it could cost between $6,628 and $11,180 for the surgery alone. Afterward, you’ll need therapy to gently exercise your shoulder.
Elbow or Wrist Pain
Carrying something heavy, whether it’s a bag of baby formula or lifting a stroller, can exacerbate tissue injuries in your elbows and wrists. The weight pulls on these ligaments and tissues, resulting in pain that doesn’t have a visible result. It’s tempting to push through this pain because life doesn’t always give you time to sit back and relax, but it’s another stress injury that could cause more significant problems if ignored.
How Moms Can Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries
These injuries may seem unavoidable, but there are a few ways to prevent them. Try these tips to see what makes your life more comfortable.
Listen to Your Body
The most important way to prevent repetitive stress injuries is to listen to your body. Take note whenever you feel new sources of pain, tingling or numbness. Those are signs of an underlying injury that are just as important to listen to as bruises or cuts. Take it easy whenever you feel pain and prepare to take further action if the aches last more than a few days.
Don’t Push Yourself
When you feel tissue pain, don’t push yourself. Apply ice packs to the painful areas and try to lift with the other side of your body. Pushing through injuries is often what makes them worse. Ask a partner, family member or friend to step in while you let your body heal from strains or tissue tears.
Try Strategic Exercises
Exercising can strengthen areas where you may get repetitive stress injuries, like your shoulders or back. Strategic movements will target these muscles to prevent recurring injuries. Try lifting weights to develop your wrists and shoulders or practice yoga at home to strengthen your lower back.
Simple exercises can make a vast improvement for moms who experience frequent muscle pain. Unless your doctor recommends it, only exercise these areas when you’re not currently experiencing any aches.
When to Seek Help
Repetitive stress injuries are common, but moms can prevent them by learning more about them. Pay attention to parts of your body, like your shoulders, back and wrists. When they have aches that don’t go away and giving them rest doesn’t provide relief, talk with your doctor about other treatment options to prevent further injury.