I didn’t really know how disruptive body pain could be until I had kids haha. I think there was a mix of pushing my body to its limits not looking after myself properly because I was so busy with the kids and sitting and working at a computer day in day out for hours.
A recent Global Pain Index (GPI) study was conducted by Voltaren which found a whopping 97% people said they suffer from body aches and pains on some level so I know I am not alone.
Over the last few years I have felt like my body has been punishing me for neglecting it. Back pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, headaches and the list goes on. The problem with me and pain is it puts me on edge. I find myself snapping at the kids so much more easily and feeling grumpy and over it.
Normally when I am feeling tired and over it I can push through my stuff and still be friendly and kind towards the kiddos when they are being difficult however, if I am in pain it tips me over the edge and my ability to cope goes out the window.
The recent GPI study conducted by Voltaren was the first of its kind and found out some really interesting things about Australians and body pain.
Did you know that a massive two thirds (68%) of Aussies experience pain weekly?
Even more interesting is that two thirds (67%) of parents believed that they would do a better job at parenting if it wasn’t for their body pain. More than half (52%) of the parents admitted to having difficulty picking up their children, (47%) admitted to not spending as much time with their kids as they would like to due to the pain and (39%) confessed to getting annoyed with their children because of their pain (that would be me).
The best thing we can all do for ourselves and our families is to stop ignoring our pain and try and do something about it.
Last year, despite being super busy and having no time, I decided to find the time to go and see a physio to start working on my shoulder and back pain. That was one of the best things I did. I learnt what was causing my pain, what I needed to do to help deal with the pain (stretches and exercises) and how important it was that I actually worked on prevention.
Some other ideas that can help with pain management include:
Move – It is very important that you continue to gently move and use the parts of your body that are in pain. By moving regularly you are increasing mobility and flexibility, which strengths your muscles, bones and ligaments to reduce pain and stiffness. It also makes you less cranky 😉
Control Your Weight – Being overweight may not cause body pain directly, however it does make it much harder to manage. Maintaining a healthy weight helps limit the amount of stress and strain we put on our joints, which are often a source of pain.
Get Help – Similar to me going to see a physio, if you are experiencing pain then there are many healthcare professionals who can help. Whether it be a doctor, pharmacist, physiotherapist or podiatrist, they can all give you good evidence-based information and tailor-make a management program. It is important that you don’t self manage and you seek expert advice.
Exercise – It is important to keep moving when you are actually in pain but even better is doing some regular exercise all the time. It can be tricky at times to find the motivation to regularly exercise but it is so important. Try and find something that you actually enjoy doing and it will be that little bit easier. It could be walking, swimming or gentle aqua aerobics (warm water exercise is especially helpful), cycling, dancing, yoga, pilates, hula hooping or tai chi to name a few.
Understand Your Medicine –If I have done everything I can and the pain is still all too real I also reach to the medicine cupboard for some relief. I want to enjoy my days and enjoy my children and on some days pain medication makes that possible. Appropriate use of over-the-counter medicines can help relieve joint and muscular pain and inflammation. Depending on what is causing your pain and how severe the symptoms are, a healthcare professional may suggest some over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory rubs. Topical rubs or heat packs can also help.
It is a constant daily battle to look after myself and find the time and energy to do my exercises, but I know they are so important in managing my pain. Some days I do and some days I don’t but I am committed to managing my pain in the future and looking after myself so I can be the best mum I can be.