Back Pain and Baby Carriers

It’s almost July 4th, and it’s about 80 degrees outside. With this incredible weather, you need to get outside this weekend!

If you’re a hiker, and if you live in Middle Tennessee there’s a good chance you are, there are some great places to get outside and go for a hike. Locally, we’re very fortunate to have places like Radnor Lake, Percy Warner Park, and if you’re willing to drive a short distance, places like Fall Creek Falls. If you’re up for a slightly longer drive, you can find your way to the Great Smokey Mountains or at the start of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

Hiking is a great way to get outside, enjoy time with your family and friends, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Obviously, your time will be better spent, and your hike more enjoyable, if you’re pain free! Last week my friend Jessica proposed a hiking question to me on Facebook:

Would you consider a blog post on healthy child-wearing while hiking (if there is such a thing)? Day hiking with my toddler is increasingly tolling on my lower back and he’s only 23 lbs. My back hurt, so naturally I thought of you.

I think this is an excellent question and a topic that never would have crossed my mind without Jessica asking it.

There are about a million different carriers on the market today (yep, I counted them). You have slings, wraps, framed-carriers, front & hip carriers, the options can be mind-numbing. There are pros and cons to every type of carrier and every way to carry your child. And honestly, I have no idea which one you should use or which way to carry your toddler while hiking (sorry, Jessica!).

What I’m most concerned about is the body coming to the carrier.

Personally, I have a sling that I used when my boys were babies. It freed up my hands so I could multitask. It was awesome…except for the fact that every time I wore it, the muscles in my mid-back burned like CRAZY! I mean, ON FIRE!

My wife, meanwhile, didn’t have any issues using it. If we both use the sling, and I have symptoms and she doesn’t, then my pain isn’t the sling’s fault. And, if we’re both carrying our little guy on our front, and I have pain and she doesn’t, then we can’t blame the carrying position. Are you tracking with me? We’re both doing the same thing, yet getting very different results.

So, Jessica, and all you other moms out there with pain, let’s stay focused on the position of the body coming to the hike. I believe that is the key to hiking pain free. Do the following exercises, in order, before you head out on your hike. As you’re hiking, tune in to what’s different with your body. Does your toddler feel lighter? Is your pain gone? Perhaps it’s in a different location. Maybe it’s not as intense. Focus in on what has changed, then comment back on this blog or on Facebook and let me know about it!



QUESTION: What’s your family’s favorite outdoor activity?