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5 Things You Can Do to Avoid the Back-Breaking Pain of Parenting

Photograph by Twenty20

Pregnancy and having kids takes a toll on your back. This spring, mine started to hurt so much during the night that I would wake up and be unable to move.

When a friend mentioned he had ignored his back to the point that it eventually gave out. He could not move for 14 days. That's when I knew I could not ignore mine any longer.

I started making some changes, and already my back feels a little better. It still is not perfect, but I’m not waking up nightly immobilized by pain.

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Here are some changes you might consider making to either keep your back healthy or minimize pain you're feeling (and maybe even heal it).

1. Carry a back friendly purse

Heavy purses are a huge cause of back pain for women. Those totes that a lot of us, including myself, lug around can weigh 10 pounds. Most of us have a favorite side that we carry it on. Often, we bend over while it's still hanging on our shoulders. This can harm your back and can cause lower back pain. A heavy purse over your shoulder also caused your upper back muscles to contort.

Doctors recommend carrying a satchel (Think: 1950s)—purse you can hold in your hand, with wider straps. If you do wear it over your shoulder, it’s close to your body so it won’t throw you off balance. Even those crossbody bags aren’t that healthy. Backpacks and fanny packs are the best but that, of course, is not always ideal. After doing this research, I immediately bought a cheap small purse and now carry only the essentials.

He told me my butt had no muscle tone. I literally banged my head against a door when he told me this.

2. Strenghten your core

After having three kids, my core is not what is once was. I started throwing myself into group pilates classes. My teachers know about my back pains and have been incredibly kind helping me stretch and tone. It’s one thing to moan about never fitting into a bikini again, fully another having back pain because I haven’t been doing enough exercise. I’m 39, shit's getting real.

3. See someone

I found a great chiropractor who specilalizes in rehabilitation. He diagnosed me with where he thinks the pain is coming from. (It actually started when I hurt myself at my fifth cross-training class. Damn burpies.) The chiro has also given me exercise to do at home. He told me my butt had no muscle tone. I literally banged my head against a door when he told me this.

4. Ibuprofen

Yes, I take ibuprofen (aka: Advil). A mom has to move.

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5. Watch your posture

Living in Los Angeles, I drive a lot. I sit a very funny way, leaning towards one side. I have started tucking in my rear and tightening my core like I was taught in pilates. I am also sitting up tall. Tucking a small towel between your lower back and seat is a good thing to do if your seat does not offer lumbar support. Make sure you are as close to the wheel as you can be, while still maintaining the proper back curve. Change positions frequently if driving long distances and always keep two hands on the wheel. You also should focus on what your position looks like while at your desk typing.

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