It is quite common to see parents holding their child on their hip. What most don’t realize is when we hold our child on our hip, we are utilizing a variety of muscle groups in the hips, back, shoulders, neck and even our arms and hands! This position, repeated over a period of time, can potentially lead to headaches, tension or discomfort up and down the spine, shooting pains or numbness in the hip and/or down the leg, rotator cuff and/or carpal tunnel issues.
So what other positions do we put ourselves in throughout the day? And what can we do to prevent any future issues from arising?
Two words… Body Awareness.
Pay attention to your positioning throughout the day. What side do you hold your child on the most? Do you bend at the waist when picking them up? When getting down on the floor with your child, do you squat down with weight bearing on your feet and ankles or sit down in a weird position?
Here are a few scenarios to think about:
HIP / LOWER BACK PAIN: While holding your child, you may unconsciously hike the hip up towards the rib cage or become weight bearing on one favored side that may be the most comfortable for you at that moment. This contracts muscles along the spine and in the hips and may end up creating lower back tension. It can also create the hips to tighten up and limit your range of motion.
NECK / SHOULDERS TENSION: When cradling your child in your arms, you are contracting not only the muscles all around the shoulder, but the ones that go up into the neck, down the spine and even in the chest. This posture can create tension in the neck leading to headaches, and it can also turn into poor posture, including rounded shoulders and forward head posture. When the front of the neck and chest get tense you can feel it in the back of your neck and shoulders.
MID-BACK: When holding your child or sitting on the floor with them you may notice yourself twisting to the side, even if it is the slightest. This rotation, if repeated daily on the same side, can create discomfort and tension in the mid back. These muscles are so little and can lock up pretty easily if we are not aware of our posture.
Time to build a deeper understanding of the body and learn how certain positions repeated over and over again throughout our day create tension in different areas. What is your body telling you??