This is something that I hear all the time from clients, in chat groups and the sling community.
Many people feel they can’t carry or they need a specific carrier with ‘back support’ to carry their child. Not true!
As long as you get a sling or carrier that supports your child fully, fits your body shape and used correctly, there should be no pain. If you have pain when carrying, then it may not be fit for purpose or need some adjustments.
Just because you ‘have a bad back’ does not mean you cannot carry, or carry for as long as you want.
So let me tell you my story with my back....
In 2007, someone fell on me while I was sat on the floor. It was seriously painful but I was able to get up and continue my job. I was in Edinburgh at the time and the next day I had to drive back to the Highlands. Still sore but I managed.
Once home I took the next day off work to rest (it was a physical job) as I was still sore.
I got up for a drink, fainted and when I woke up I couldn’t move my legs. My back was in agony and I was in such a panic.
An ambulance was called and I was taken by stretcher to hospital. I was given a lot of pain meds while they did some basic tests, I had no feeling in either legs. I had serious hip pain too so it was thought I had broken a hip. I was in my early 20’s at the time so I doubted this. X-ray showed no breaks but did not explain the issue.
After a few days of no improvement, I was given intensive physio and the pain was excruciating. I could not stand, I could not walk or move my legs. I was started on weekly hydrotherapy.
After a week, the muscles in my legs already started to waste away and you could see my shins like poles in a bag!
I was given crutches and started managing to weight bear with help.
After just over a week I went home, I couldn’t work, drive, I couldn’t do much but luckily I still lived at home so I had support.
I was in weekly physio and hydrotherapy sessions for a year, I had to relearn how to walk, use stairs and control my legs.
All this time I was on very strong pain medication too.
I was never given scans or full tests, or a real diagnosis of what happened. It was delayed temporary paralysis which then gave me knee, hip and back issues for life.
Since the day I managed to give up the grip of my crutches I don’t take my legs for granted.
When I was pregnant the first time, my hips and back reacted badly, the pain came back, my legs gave out and the crutches were needed.
This was not spd but the effect pregnancy had on my previous back issues.
By 30 weeks I was housebound, on the strongest painkillers I could be when pregnant and had to use a wheelchair if taken to the shops.
This pregnancy we were prepared but very scared the same could happen, or worse, happen early or be permanent.
As you will have all seen, I am crutch free, I am pain free and this pregnancy has been amazing!
With all my issues and pain (that still flares up time to time) I have still managed to carry my daughter till she was 5!
I really believe that carrying her almost daily for 5 years has given my back the strength to progress with this pregnancy.
So for everyone who says they ‘have a bad back’ which may be just a niggle or muscle pain. Please visit your local sling library and find a sling or carrier that works for you and your child.
If I can carry then so can you! (Obviously this will not apply to everyone but aimed at those who have minor back issues or pain.)
(Picture only features one crutch as I couldn’t find the other one, it’s in the loft as I keep them for emergencies)