Just about everyone has experienced back pain that flares up from bending over to pick up something heavy. For parents of toddlers and younger kids, picking up those hefty little bundles over and over can lead to back trouble.
Add to that the fact that parents are always sacrificing for their kids and often don’t take the time to get the exercise they need, and the stress that comes with being a parent. A lot of parents also have trouble getting enough sleep from the time a newborn first comes to later on when they are running around all day taking care of their older kids’ needs.
In examining my patients, I’ve found many suffering the effects of stress, including improper exercise, traumatic injury, sprains and strains.
Repeated and ongoing stress is a factor in improper gait, a condition that makes exercise and even simple movements inefficient and increases risks for injury.
When the human body is healthy, there is a systematic rhythm to a person’s gait. The opposing arm swings naturally forward when a step is taken by either the right or left foot. This involuntary movement is controlled by an autonomic nervous system with the entire body operating as a unified muscle mass in a tension/relaxation cycle.
When normal gait is interrupted by stress, the stress on the autonomic nervous system causes the body to develop involuntary movement patterns during walking. This results in an asynchronous gait, which produces torquing of one side of the body vis-a-vis the opposing side. What was normally an effortless involuntary function becomes a labor intensive, exhausting effort.
When the body adapts to stress, (general adaptation syndrome), people experience a number of problems. Greatly accelerated wear and tear on the body and poor posture, which results from involuntary compensation for pain, is manifested in unequal muscle length and tensile strength throughout the muscular skeletal system. The abnormal torquing, and the multiple compensations a person substitutes for her/his normal rhythmic gait, adversely affects joints, spinal flexibility and overall health.
Improper gait can make even easy exercises inefficient and tiring. For parents who are always on the run and often picking up kids and other heavy loads, it can lead to back pain, problems sleeping and low energy. But when we correct gait problems, patients see immediate results.
To help patients correct improper gait, I developed the Chi Rope, a set of exercise handles that combine sound, weight, magnetism and vibration to enhance the body’s homeostasis (balance). The system can be used with or without an interconnected jump rope for walking, jumping rope or in conjunction with a daily regiment of movements. They are great for parents who don’t have the time to work out, and can also be used while doing Pilates, yoga, running and other exercises.
The whole body works in a tension/relaxation cycle. I call this the “daily dance.” Correcting improper gait is a key to restoring balance and proper movement. By bringing the body back into balance, it can handle higher levels of stress and function properly. That can help give parents the energy, flexibility and strength they need to take care of their kids, and themselves, every day.
Signs of Imbalance
Craving sweets means the body is exhausting itself and running out of energy. Sweets affect the adrenal glands which push out a stress hormone, cortical steroids, that contribute to weight gain.
Sleep problems and waking up exhausted are indicators that the body’s natural cycle of repair and cleansing is disrupted.
Pain is a sign that your “daily dance” – the involuntary pattern of movement in your walk – is off. Back and hip pain and inflammation are some of the symptoms of improper gait.
Parent Back Care Tips
Pilates and Yoga are some of the safer exercises. Neither one will correct gait problems, but they both involve controlled movement and resistance that does not tend to tear up the body like weight training or running.
Don’t over-train. Many people work out too often and too hard and don’t allow their bodies to recover. Before starting a new exercise routine, take your pulse for seven days every morning to determine your resting (baseline) pulse. If, after starting a new exercise routine, you find your morning pulse is five beats above your baseline pulse, take the day off. That’s a sign you are overtraining.
Be aware of symptoms of imbalance. Abnormal aches, problems sleeping, mood changes and craving sweets are all signs that may indicate problems with gait and balance. To learn more, visit Dr. Lombardozzi’s website at www.ChiRope.com.
This article was originally published on www.naturalpapa.com
*Image of “back bend” via Shutterstock