arm pain

The Seven Ages of Back Pain

May 30, 2012
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The Seven Ages of Back Pain

The lower back works hard when we lift and we all know that we should be lifting correctly but sometimes it’s just not that easy especially when children are concerned!

1. During pregnancyAs the baby grows your centre of gravity begins to shift and the core muscles get stretched making it more difficult for them to support the lower back during the lifting process.  Extra laxity in the ligaments also means that the lower back and pelvis is in danger of having an acute episode.  Common areas of pain are to one side of the spine or at the top of the buttock.2. With a newbornWhen the baby is small you would imagine that lifting is easy but there is a lot of paraphernalia that goes with a newborn.  The pram, the changing bag, the car seat, not to mention bending to the cot or Moses basket to pick up a distressed child.  Then there is the carrying – all parents will know the subconscious and mildly disturbing rocking that occurs (even when you are not holding the baby).  Holding even a very light infant for prolonged periods of time is very hard work for the muscles of the arms, shoulders, neck and back especially if you are not accustomed to doing so.

3. Pre-toddlers The baby is getting his or her personality and becoming heavier as they are eating more solid food and building their own muscles by learning to crawl and stand.  The lifting required has also changed.  Heavier lifting and often from the floor (or under the table!) means that it may not be possible to get in the correct position to lift making it more likely that your back will suffer.

4. ToddlersEven heavier and now a new challenge … walking and running.  This means you have to keep an eye on them at all times and often have to grab them before they run off in the street or bolt for the hot cup of coffee.  Now your body ends up contorting itself wildly to halt a weighty, fast moving child – recipe for disaster in back terms.

5. Pre-schoolHopefully the children will now be a little more obedient and are not so prone to running off and due to their walking ability and weight lifting becomes heavier but more infrequent and of shorter duration.  Up onto the kitchen counter to put a plaster on a skinned knee and up over country gates when required.  Cuddles are done sitting down though hauling a child up onto your lap from the ground can put an enormous strain on the sacro-iliac joints in the pelvis.

6. School YearsLifting of children is seldom required now but there are bikes to get in and out of the boot of the car and play fights to have on the living room floor.  The child is too heavy to lift now apart from the odd piggy back when its really muddy or way past bed time.  There is also more time now to get back into the sports and activities you used to do but remember you have not done them for quite a long time and adjust the intensity and duration of the exercise accordingly.

7. GrandparentsFar from being immune from the pain children can cause to a back the grandparents can be in even more danger if they are not around all the time.  Children grow quickly and if you don’t lift them regularly your back will not be ‘match fit’ and the shock to the back and neck can be significant when an excited child launches themselves at you upon arrival at your house.

Fortunately, at Back to Health we understand the pain being a parent can cause. And we can help you get back to being pain free – as you like it!

Avoiding Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain and Arm Pain at Work

Mar 28, 2012
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In response to a question we received on Facebook here are our 5 top tips for avoiding neck pain, shoulder pain and arm pain whilst at work.
1. Ensure your workstation is set up correctly.
You should be sat directly in front of your computer rather than at an angle and have your arms comfortably to your side. Your forearms should be horizontal and your eyes should be just above the level of the top of your monitor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and make sure your mouse is not too far away from you. Make sure your seat is at the right height and you have a small gap behind your knees between the knee and chair.  Put your buttocks right back in the seat so that when you sit up you have a good lumbar curve.  Keep your back against the back of the seat but don’t lean back on it.  Ensure your feet are flat on the floor.
Look at this diagram to ensure you have the right position.
Guidance can also be found on the HSE website (self-assessment guides) at
2.            Get the mouse right.
There are several ways you can use your mouse to minimise strain on your arm and forearm.  Try using the other hand or alternate your left and right hand.  Position the mouse closer to the keyboard to avoid having to turn your arm out to reach it.  Slow down the mouse and reduce the number of clicks required by adjusting the settings in the control panel of your computer.  Try using keystrokes instead of the mouse for certain actions (this can be done by looking in the tools menu).
Use different mouse devices and rotate them so you change them regularly.
3.            Get the right hardware.
There are various ergonomic designs of mouse and keyboard on the market so think about having a trip to a computer shop to try some out.  Talk to your employer if you think you may benefit from a different type of device – you never know they might even buy one for you!
4.            Take regular breaks from the screen.
Every 15 to 20 minutes you should look away from the screen to avoid your eyes getting dry and strained.  Try looking to a different part of the office and blinking repeatedly for a few seconds (though its best to avoid looking at a colleague whilst doing this as they may get the wrong idea!)
5.            Stretch
Stretch your forearms regularly by holding your arms out in front of you and pulling your hand towards you first palm up, then palm down. 
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds each.
Clasp your hands together and push them away from you whilst pushing your spine backwards.  This will give a good stretch across your back.  Complement this by pushing left, right, up and down also.
Stretch your head in each direction and allow the weight of the head to stretch the muscles of the opposite side.
Keep an eye on the website for upcoming guidance on stretching.
Follow these tips to help avoid pain and discomfort in your neck, shoulders and arms whilst at work.
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