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Since having your baby do you catch yourself always talking about how much your back aches? Here's our best advice for relieving the pain
Lifting your baby, bending to put her in the car seat and carrying a shoulder bag packed with half the nursery - your back's never had to bear such a load.
'The longer you ignore pain, the worse it can become,' says Dr Adam Al-Kashi, head of research at the charity BackCare. 'If muscles and joints are exposed to stress, it builds up. While the brain and nervous system become better at processing the pain so you can initially ignore it, eventually it can lead to chronic back pain.'
>> How to get back into exercise after you've given birth>> Get back into shape after having your baby
Here are some simple ways you can keep your back strong and pain-free:
Learn to liftBend at the knees to pick your baby up rather than curling your body forward, so you bear your weight in your legs, not your spine. 'To check you're doing this right, stand 1 ft in front of a chair and bend as though you're going to sit on it,' says personal trainer Joanna Helcke. 'As your bottom's about to hit the chair, your spine should follow its natural curves, with your heels on the floor and your knees bent.'
Lose the hunchIf you're reading this with your shoulders and upper back rolled forward, it's time to fix the slouch. 'Mums spend a lot of time hunched up - during breastfeeding, bending over a cot or changing nappies,' says osteopath Adam Dallison. 'Use cushions when breastfeeding and position your changing station at waist level.'
Focus on your coreStrengthening this group of muscles has never been more important. Your 'core' includes the pelvic floor and the muscles that circle your waist like a corset. 'The stronger the corset, the more support your back has,' says Joanna. Pilates-style exercises are great for targeting the core, but wait until you've had your post-birth check-up before exercising. 'A safe way to start is to sit on an exercise ball while you watch TV,' suggests Joanna. 'Your core muscles have to engage to keep you stable.'
Get comfyIf your back feels worse after a bad night;s sleep, consider upgrading your mattress. Physiotherapists used to recommend a hard mattress for bad backs, but studies have found that a moderately firm one is just as effective. As well as a new mattress, try a new position. 'Once you've had your baby, sleep on your back with a cushion under your knees,' says Joanna. 'This tilts your pelvis and relieves your spine.'
Mix it upFeeding, changing and lifting involve a series of repetitive movements, which can trigger pain. 'It may feel unnatural, but try to alternate the side you hold your baby on,' Adam advises. If you keep forgetting, use a bracelet to remind yourself of the arm you just used.
>> Why being a new mum is good for you>> Post birth recovery tips
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Top tips to help relieve your post baby back pain
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