Why Carrying a Baby Inside or Out Can Hurt Us
As a Kinesiologist and alignment-based Yoga Teacher, I help people get out of pain almost daily. Pain often creates lots of emotions – fear that it will stay like this forever, anger at ourselves for doing this AGAIN, and sadness at what we can’t do now.
When I reassure people that they have the power to relieve their own pain they often don’t believe it.
I hear a lot of reasons why they have their pain, and why there’s nothing they can do:
- I just sleep weird
- I work at a desk all day
- I have something wrong with me (bone spurs, slipped disk, scoliosis)
- I did an x-ray but there wasn’t anything there
- I had surgery/an accident/an injury once
- I have fused vertebrae
- I’m just tight
- I’m just too flexible
- I’ve been to (chiropractors, physical therapists, bodyworkers) and nothing helps long-term
I tell people that it’s good to know, but no matter what has happened in the past they can either be getting worse, or getting better. Why not make yourself feel better, even a little bit, right now?
You see, back pain is not a mystery. The reason we have back pain is simple: compression. We’ve lost space in that area and things are getting squished.
Now, there are a lot of reasons why this happen, and ways that this can show itself. But when it happens we call it a misalignment.
In a healthy body, things flow with ease – circulation, communication channels, and in yoga, prana (life force). Pain is when this flow gets blocked, or stops flowing correctly.
Here’s a way to understand how things get blocked and we get back pain: the spine is like a beaded necklace, with flat beads that fit perfectly on top of each other when it has its natural curves.
When we lose these natural curves – whether it’s because of physical habits (like sitting with rounded back), beliefs or ideas we learned (like flatten your back), or stress (tightens deep pelvic muscles) – we create compression. Those “beads” – or vertebrae – squish together creating tension in muscles nearby and overstretching others; squeezing the cushions in between; and pressing on nerves.
Oddly, pregnancy and motherhood – two of the most natural things the body can do – bring us OUT of our natural alignment. Our pregnant belly pulls on our pelvis; carrying and breastfeeding baby pulls on our shouders; and even bending over and looking at this adorable creature rounds out all our curves and creates compression.
So what can we do?
Over the years, I witnessed many people getting out of pain by going to a yoga class. But often, by the next week, the pain was back. When people added in only 5 minutes a day, they could even skip yoga and stay out of pain.
The lesson for me was this: a little a day is more effective than a lot once or twice a week. If you could feel better, move freely, and avoid the ocassional flat-on-your-back catastrophes in five minutes a day, would you?
The truth is, the 5 Minutes to Happy Back Practice does more than align your spine. It shifts your awareness. You notice you’re slouching and sit up – not because you “should” but because it feels better. You pick baby up with an extended spine, you sleep in the way you’ve learned – all because the old way just doesn’t feel as good.