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Dads Can Have Growing Pains, Too!

There’s no joy quite like that of being a dad. The rewards that come with watching your children grow, teaching them new ideas and spending time playing and interacting with them have no comparison. There’s no job like being a father, and it can be one of the most wonderful roles a man can have.

But along with the joys come the challenges, including physical aches and pains that you may not have anticipated. Children, it turns out, are not the only ones who experience growing pains. And while being a dad is certainly worth a little pain now and then, there are ways to prevent or alleviate those unexpected backaches, muscle strains, headaches, neck aches... Well, you get the point.

In honor of Father’s Day, Charles Friedman, M.D., pain management specialist at Pain Relief Centers in Pinellas Park, offers some tips for dads to prevent pain and enjoy fatherhood to its fullest. And it’s great advice for grandfathers, too!

Protect Your Back: Being a dad can take quite the toll on your back. Certain activities simply come with the job of being a father, and many of them put a lot of stress on the spine and its muscles. For example, you lift your child in and out of the car seat, highchair or bed several times a day. You may carry your 30-pound toddler on one side of the body and put undo stress on back muscles. And who can resist a big smile and a “pick me up, Daddy” from the little one standing three feet below you on the living room floor?

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a younger or older father,” says Friedman, “these activities are bound to have an effect on your back. So both taking care of yourself and making sure to lift your children properly will make a world of difference in preventing back pain.” The following tips will help reduce that Daddy back pain you may be feeling:

  • Make sure to exercise and keep your back muscles strong. Strong muscles reduce the stress on the spine and reduce the chance of muscle strain.

  • Before lifting the little one, hold him/her close to your body instead of lifting with outstretched arms.

  • Bend at your knees and not your waist when picking your child up from the floor. Squat down and lift with your legs.

  • Kneel on the back seat instead of standing outside the car when placing your child in he car seat.

  • Carry your child at the front of your body instead of the hip to lessen the stress put on one side of the body.

Don’t Strain Yourself! One of the best parts of being a dad is getting out and spending playtime with your kids. Whether its playing baseball, racing in the backyard or attending a tea party with your child and five stuffed animals, it’s always fun to interact with your kids. Keep in mind, however, that you have to pay attention to how you’re moving your body when pretending to pitch to Babe Ruth or having tea in that playhouse. Because while you’re having fun, you may strain a muscle. And muscle strains are no fun at all.

“Muscle strains, or what are often called ‘pulled muscles,’ occur when your muscles are simply stretched beyond their normal limitations,” says Friedman. “These can generally be prevented simply by maintaining a good physical fitness level and stretching prior to engaging in physical activity.” So warm up before you start playing catch with your kids. And if you’re six feet tall, that 3 foot playhouse just may not be the best place for you to fit. You aren’t a contortionist, after all!

Keep Stress at Bay: Being a father is a big responsibility. And while it’s one that is happily welcomed, with responsibility comes a certain level of stress, especially if you’re trying to strike a balance between work and family life. Not to mention the stress that comes with always wanting to protect, nurture and care for your child. However, if not controlled, this can lead to tension headaches and neck pain.

Fortunately, tension headaches are easy to prevent. Since stress is a main trigger for these pains, alleviating stress can alleviate your pain. Sure, we all want to be Superman for our children, but sometimes you just have to take a step back and take care of yourself, as well. So somewhere in your day, take some time for you; time to relax and take a little stress off of your shoulders (and neck, head and back).

So this Father’s Day, prop up your feet and enjoy your day with a little rest and relaxation. Relieve stress by playing with your kids. Throw around a football, play hide and seek, or enjoy whatever activity your children’s imaginations can dream up. Just make sure to stretch first.

Pain Relief Centers are multi-specialty practices that use a combination of innovative and minimally invasive treatments that help relieve patients’ pain and improve their quality of life. Pain Relief Centers’ Board-Certified physicians utilize advanced technology and interventional therapies to diagnose and treat pain effectively. Pain Relief Centers’ comprehensive approach ranges from osteopathic manipulation and nerve ablation to minimally invasive spine procedures. Pain Relief Centers treat a variety of conditions such as neck and arm pain, back and leg pain, complex regional pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, failed back syndrome, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis.

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