Whether cultivating a garden or a family, let's agree that it's called "back breaking work" for a reason!
Four days ago, I threw my back out for the first time since having Teddy Laine last October. I had a lot of back problems after I had Gabe starting from when he was 6 months old until he could walk at 11 months. I actually cried many times thinking my body was incapable of carrying another baby. That's why I started lifting weights twice a week and focused on rebuilding my core in earnest.
Despite being stronger through my third pregnancy and having a quicker recovery thanks to that strength, here I am again facing the pained look in the mirror as I struggle to stand up straight.
Now I know this too shall pass. It will just be a challenging season of having to lift a large baby over that awkward crib rail. Ideally you squat to lift heavy loads, but cribs, strollers, and the babies themselves are not so accommodating.
Those darn babies like to crawl into the most awkward nooks and crannies! So I'm girding myself for months of back challenges until she can walk independently.
(And no, I didn't throw my back out doing a double baby carry. I did it bending over the crib to get Teddy.)
I wanted to share my all-natural coping mechanisms with you in case you too find yourself in a similar, painful situation. Disclaimor: I am not a medical professional.
- If your back is actively spasming, apply ice. Once the spasms subside, apply a heating pad.
- Find a good chiropractor and maybe even a physical therapist to see you through recovery from a back injury. Most will take insurance so you won't have to pay out of pocket.
- Get a deep tissue massage from someone recommended by your chiropractor or physical therapist. You need someone who knows what they are doing!
- Buy a back brace. ( This is similar to the one I use: ComfyMed Breathable Mesh Back Brace CM-SB01 (LGE 38" to 50")) Keep in mind that the brace is more to remind you to engage your core than to actually protect your back.
- Use Cryoderm Cold Spray 4oz - the active ingredients are menthol and arnica so it's not crazy artificial like Icy Hot and other products out there. Arnica is an herbaceous plant in the sunflower family that is good for sore and stiff muscles.
- If you have a yoga block, carefully place it under your sacrum and relax backwards over it to release the tension in your low back. If comfortable, also pull one knee into your chest at a time to gently stretch even further.
- Meditation. I teach my natural childbirth students all the time that pain causes you to hold your breath or to breath shallow. This creates even more muscle tension which leads to unnecessary pain. So when I'm going through active back spasms, I try to take a moment to focus on deep breathing.
- Make sure you're getting enough (Magnesium). When you're magnesium deficient, you can experience muscle cramps and spasms.
- Get a (Tens Unit). I use mine twice a day during spasms. The idea is that the electrical current helps exhaust the muscles so they will spasm less.
- Epsom salt baths with 8 drops each of Panaway and lavender.
- Use my Panaway and Deep Relief essential oil blends topically for pain relief.
- Take copiaba essential oil orally in capsule form for pain relief and to help the back spasms abate.
Preventative measures I will take once this particular physical crisis passes:
- Foam rolling my quads and glutes! All of my doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, etc. tell me to do this all the time, but I neglect it. Stretching before AND after my workouts is so important and foam rolling is a very effective means of keeping things loose.
- Core exercises out the wazoo.
- Being mindful to engage my pelvic floor and core BEFORE lifting my babes.
- And I'm going to try and wear my brace on the daily until Teddy can walk. I used to think of it as a crutch but it really helps me remember to engage my core before lifting. Good thing she's so cute!