Avin Patel

Colic (Prolonged Infant Crying)

Colic is a difficult thing to pin down: it’s not a formal diagnosis. A newborn may be described as “colicky” if they cry for a total of three hours (or more) per day, three days a week.

Colic

Causes of Colic

Possible causes of colic are generally considered to be digestive. Therefore there may be overlap with other digestive issues, such as reflux.

It makes sense that growing pains could also be a cause of prolonged crying, and no bones are under more dramatic change than the bones of the skull in the first six months. The brain grows tremendously in infancy, reaching 80% of its final size by the age of three. We’ve discussed plagiocephaly and the red flags for craniosynostosis before, which may have relevance here.

More Than Colic?

If these symptoms continue for more than four months, other potential causes need to be considered. Young babies have few ways to communicate distress other than crying, so it helps for us to keep an open mind when working with them. Be aware of:

  • infections, including persistent nappy rash
  • signs of meningitis
  • wind and constipation
  • unusual vomiting (green stained vomit or especially forceful vomiting)
  • symptoms of testicular torsion in boys

Can Osteopathy Help?

We’ve posted before about parents who found cranial osteopathy to really help their babies’ symptoms. Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle form of the therapy, using light pressure and soft movement to encourage movement through the skull. As babies’ skulls are not completely fused, they can respond very quickly to small changes.

You can read more about cranial osteopathy here.

With regards to potential digestive causes, an osteopath’s approach to a baby is not too dissimilar to an adult with digestive issues. Whenever the digestive system is upset, especially by reflux or other painful conditions, the diaphragm often reacts. This broad muscle runs right through the body, giving it the potential to affect breathing, the mid and lower back, or further aggravate the abdomen. The diaphragm is also reactive to stress, playing a big role in raising your shoulders and making your breathing shallow.

Gentle treatment to the diaphragm can help to reduce its negative effects and potentially improve breathing and symptoms of reflux. Young babies may take longer to respond when reflux is involved, as their immature digestive systems, liquid diets, and increased time spent lying down are all potential aggravating factors. However work to reduce symptoms and discomfort may lead to a reduction in crying.

Osteopathy for Parents or Carers

The newborn period can be tough, especially if your baby is colicky. The sudden changes in demand on your body, especially if you find that rocking your baby is the best way to soothe them, can take their toll. Osteopathy can help with those aches and pains and help to break the cycles of tension that make your neck and shoulders tighter.

Make an appointment in Rutland or Leicestershire here

Referred Pain

Sometimes pain is felt somewhere different to the area that’s caused it. We see this a lot with upper back stiffness causing the lower back to overwork and become painful. But referred pain is different: here the brain misinterprets the pain signal that it receives.

referred pain

Understanding the Pain Signal

The body is full of nerves that can send a pain signal to the brain to alert it to potential danger. Everyone is slightly different, but we all follow a similar pattern of nerves. Each nerve supplies a stripe of the body with sensation.

Pain at any point in the stripe will trigger the nerve to send a signal to the brain. The brain knows which nerve is providing the message, but sometimes it misinterprets the detail. The misinterpretation is just like how some people have a heart attack without chest pain, just jaw or arm pain. If a joint within a stripe is irritated, such as the neck joint labelled above, the brain could assume the pain is anywhere within the stripe. As a result, you may feel no neck pain at all, just pain in the arm. But the arm wouldn’t be tender, and movement might not alter symptoms either.

Another commonly affected area is the pelvic joint: the SIJ. This can cause pain in the back of the thigh that can be easily mistaken for sciatica. But unlike sciatica, the pain is unlikely to be sharp or shooting, and tests that identify sciatica will come up negative.

With the heart attack example in mind, we do need to be aware that sometimes referred pain comes from organs. Again, there are patterns that we expect the body to follow, but there is overlap between referred pain that could be coming from a joint, and the same symptoms coming from an organ. We use our detailed case history to help catch these cases, but we will also monitor your progress and refer you for further investigation if appropriate.

Diagnosing Referred Pain

Although everyone’s stripes vary slightly, they are all pretty similar. Your osteopath will be able to tell which nerve is responsible by the area in which you feel the pain. From here, they can work back to other structures within that nerve’s remit to identify the irritated area. Looking at the way you move, as well as testing the joints and muscles passively, we can work out the joint or other area that’s causing the problem.

Managing Referred Pain

Identifying the cause is the first step towards getting on top of the pain. Often, once the problem area is identified, the referred pain should respond quickly to treatment. Whereas sciatica-type issues can take days or weeks to respond to changes further up the nerve, referred pain is often much more immediate. If the cause of the pain is a simple irritated joint, sometimes a quick click will take the edge off the symptoms. A combination of the usual strategies to relax off tight muscles and improve movement in joints can make a big difference, especially when supported with advice and exercises.

In any case, your osteopath can give you an idea of a prognosis at the end of your first session. Your osteopath will also give you a tailored plan and diagnosis to structure your recovery.

Make an appointment in Rutland or Leicestershire here

Delays to Joint Replacements

Waiting lists for joint replacements are at an all time high, and the 18 week target for hip and knee replacements has been scrapped. If you are already waiting for a replacement to an arthritic joint, we may be able to help with function and comfort in the meantime. Osteopaths are qualified to help with arthritis, and the earlier you start treatment, the more we can do.

Joint replacements

Early Stages of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition of the cartilage within a joint. Cartilage has a poor blood supply, so relies on movement to keep nutrients flowing into the joint where it can absorb them. It exchanges nutrients for waste, and movement again helps to flush this away. If movement is limited, the nutrient input is reduced, and waste products are stuck close to the cartilage for longer than ideal. These changes to the local environment play a role in reducing the health of the cartilage, from which point a vicious cycle can develop.

Even without you consciously realising, if the cartilage in a joint becomes roughened, the body might respond by adapting movement. This can be particularly evident in the hip. As movement is now sub-optimal, the fluids in the joint are not flushed through as much as they should be. There may also be areas of cartilage that are no longer compressed and decompressed, so the tissue relies purely on diffusion to exchange those products.

Avoiding Joint Replacements: Managing Arthritis

If spotted early, your osteopath can start to improve movement again. Muscles will be tight to try and protect the joint, which only reduces movement further. By working on those muscles and encouraging joint movement directly, we aim to restore some lost movement and improve cartilage health. Osteoarthritis responds really well to exercise too, so you can expect to have an exercise plan throughout your time with us.

Relief While Waiting for Joint Replacements

In some cases, a joint replacement is the only real solution. But with long waiting times, it can be difficult to make it to the surgery date. Even when cartilage is significantly reduced within the joint, what is left can still respond to treatment. We can also help to relax muscles that are trying to protect the area and potentially causing more pain than they solve. Finally, if other areas are overworking to compensate for the joint pain, there may be things we can do to reduce the burden on them.

If your joint pain leads you to walking with a stick or a frame, we may be able to offer advice for using them in a more efficient way.

Prehabilitation

Just like you would expect physical therapy after your surgery to improve your joint function, we can help to get your body ready for surgery. If your joint pain affects the way the rest of your body moves, we can work to improve the function of those areas that are adapting. This means that when you do get walking on your new joint, there’s one less thing to iron out.

Make an appointment in Leicestershire or Rutland for your joint pain here.

Self Management Basics

The points made below are non-prescriptive, and intend to give an idea of the advice your osteopath may give you after fully analysing your case and giving you a diagnosis.

Studies repeatedly show that the best results come from treatment alongside self management. This might include:

  • using a warm or cool compress
  • stretches
  • strengthening exercises
  • general aerobic exercise

Your osteopath will give you advice tailored to your case at the end of your initial appointment. As your symptoms change, your self-management advice will be changed accordingly.

self management: exercises

Heat vs Ice for Self Management

During the case history, we ask patients if they’ve found anything that makes their symptoms better or worse. It’s not uncommon for someone to say that they wanted to try heat or ice, but were unsure which was the right one.

As a general rule, ice is good for reducing inflammation, and heat is good for tight muscles. As heat can aggravate inflammation, and even sore muscles are typically a bit inflamed, ice is generally the safer bet. That said, you don’t want to keep it in place for more than 10 minutes per hour, as the aim is to take the edge off rather than limit the blood supply. There are also times when a bit of inflammation is a good thing. It comes up for a reason, and it brings nutrients to the area that needs it. The problems arise when the inflammation stays stagnant for too long, in which case contrast bathing might be the most appropriate.

Contrast Bathing

The term refers to the use of both a warm and cool compress. Some people prefer to do this in the shower, letting the water run warmer and cooler on the affected area. For others a cool pack and a wheat bag are more suitable. Your osteopath can advice what might be appropriate for you. Heat or ice alone should be used for no more than 10 minutes in an hour. Contrast bathing needs shorter and more frequent usage, as the idea is the heat opens up blood vessels and the cool closes them. This essentially creates a pump in the area, encouraging blood and fluid to come and go- great for moving on old inflammation.

Do not go straight from one extreme of temperature to the other. With contrast bathing, a couple of flannels that have been run under warm or cool water may be extreme enough. Your osteopath can also advise about how long you should let the skin acclimatise before switching to the other temperature.

Exercises for Self Management

The exercise plan your osteopath devises will be completely personalised to you. General exercise is almost always a good thing to promote healing and reduce pain. If you are recovering from an acute injury, this may not be appropriate, as you will be advised.

Stretching can be good to manage a tight muscle. Often we don’t realise that muscles are tight, because they cause a problem elsewhere. Patients often come in and mention their “bad posture” of rounded shoulders, but the shoulders themselves are often relatively comfortable. In this case, tightness comes from the chest muscles, and a combination of stretching the chest and strengthening the upper back can bring the shoulders back to where they should be. If this strain was causing problems elsewhere, such as in the neck or lower back, this might be the first step.

Strengthening is sometimes used in a seemingly counterintuitive way. For example, if a muscle is tight because it is working too hard, what we really need to do is make it work harder still in order to strengthen. If the demands placed on it are then less than it’s capable of, it will function better.

Make an appointment for your aches and pains in Leicestershire or Rutland here.

What is an Osteopath?

An osteopath is a professional whose title is legally protected. This means that anyone who calls themselves an osteopath is a member of the General Osteopathic Council, has completed a recognised qualification, and annually maintains their professional insurance and knowledge.

What do osteopaths do?

A simple explanation of osteopathy is that it’s a therapy focused on the musculoskeletal system, and its diagnosis and treatment without medicines. Osteopaths use your case history and observation of movement to understand the problem and its causes. Treatment itself is usually hands on, using massage techniques and joint movements to improve the body’s function.

What can an Osteopath Treat?

You’re welcome to book in with any aches and pains that you think could be related to muscles, joints, or nerves. We can also help with chronic pain, where the cause can be harder to identify. The ASA allows us to claim to treat the following conditions (click on one to read more):

We may also be able to help with problems that are not listed, you’re welcome to get in contact if you are unsure whether we can help.

Osteo, Physio, and Chiro

We are often asked about the difference between what we do, and what a physiotherapist or chiropractor would do. Our training is all quite similar in terms of knowledge and techniques, although it could be argued that chiropractors have the most emphasis on joint manipulation (clicking). Physiotherapists are typically not taught this at undergraduate level, but may learn it in postgraduate training. Most osteopaths are likely somewhere between the other two professions in terms of treatment style and manipulation- but it is important to understand that we all fall on a spectrum. The question should maybe focus less on which profession you need to see, and rather which individual suits you.

What to Expect at your Appointment

Your osteopath may send you some forms to fill in ahead of time, so check your email after booking. When you arrive, you can expect to be treated sensitively and professionally: your treatment and its contents is confidential. Your osteopath will take an extensive case history to help identify any possible factors in your presenting complaint. After this, they will have a few ideas of what might be going on, and they may ask you to remove some clothing. You might prefer to wear a vest and shorts for comfort, but you will not be required to dress down further than you are happy to. We can work through clothing where necessary.

You will be examined, with the osteopath asking you to perform movements and maybe repeating them for you when you are sitting or laying down. Other tests may be appropriate too to get to the root cause of your symptoms. When they are happy with a diagnosis, they can begin treatment. As mentioned above, this is usually a combination of work to muscles and joints, and your consent will be required throughout.

At the end of your session, you can expect to have a diagnosis and explanation for your symptoms, an idea of how long it will take to manage, and often a few exercises to do at home. Some conditions can be resolved quickly, and others are expected to take longer or to come and go. You don’t need a referral from your GP to see an osteopath, so if you’ve been on the fence about making your appointment, you can click the link below.

Make an osteopathy appointment in Leicestershire or Rutland here

Mythbusting in Osteopathy

We hear a lot of misinformation in clinic, whether our patients pick it up from other medical professionals or less trustworthy sources. It might seem pedantic, but correcting the way we think can hugely improve our pain. If you believe that your back is fragile, you are likely to worry more about it and become over protective. In reality, movement is exactly what most problems need. Here are some of the most common myths we hear from our patients, and the associated truths:

“Arthritis means suffering until a joint replacement”

Osteoarthritis (the “wear and tear” form of arthritis), is a condition affecting cartilage. Sometimes we forget that cartilage (and bone, in fact) are living tissues. If you broke a bone, you would expect it to heal. If your cartilage is damaged, it will take a while, but it does have the capacity to improve. Identifying arthritis in its early stages has a good outlook. The condition produces a vicious cycle, where reduced movement negatively impacts joint health overall, allowing the cartilage to become more damaged. Your osteopath can work with you to improve local movement, which allows nutrients back into the area and gives the cartilage the best chance to heal.

“A slipped disc will cause me sciatica forever”

Firstly, we need to address the “slipped disc” idea. Some people use the term without thinking too much into it, but others report feeling that something popped out, or even feeling the bulge itself. Discs are made of a couple of layers: inside they are soft, whereas the outside is a flexible but strong fibrous layer. They are so firmly stuck to the vertebrae above and below, that in a severe accident, the bone is more likely to break than for the disc to detach. So don’t worry about a disc moving freely away from the spine.

What can happen is that the soft inner layer can push against a weakened spot in the fibrous layer. This can cause a bulge in the disc, or sometimes the soft layer can partially leak out. Sometimes either of these scenarios will cause pain locally in the back, or they might irritate a nerve, causing pain down the leg.

It is important to note that disc bulges often happen without any symptoms. A study showed that after the age of 40, most people had at least one bulging disc. However, less than half the population suffer from lower back pain or sciatica. This is one reason why the NHS does not routinely offer imaging for lower back pain or sciatica. This changes if there are any red flags present.

Sciatica, disc bulges, and spondylolistheses

“My spine needs clicking back into place”

This one is similar to the idea of discs being somewhere they shouldn’t. Clicking a spinal joint is quite a lot like clicking your knuckles. If you’ve done so, you might notice that when you get the click, your finger moves a bit further with the noise. That’s not to say that the joint was out of place, it was just stiff.

When we click a spinal joint, we choose a restricted one. The short but powerful movement demands a little bit extra from that joint, and aims to get the movement back that has been lost. It’s never about repositioning. Rarely, a vertebra is out of place, but clicking would not be a solution. This is called a listhesis (fig. D), and is also known as a spondylolisthesis (spinal listhesis) or retrolisthesis (a backwards slippage instead of forwards). Sometimes this is purely anatomical, causing you no problems and only identified on a scan that’s looking for something else. Alternatively, it can be traumatic, in which a fracture to part of the spinal bone allows a shift in positioning. If the slip is significant enough, your osteopath may be able to feel a “step” in your spine, however this will require referral back to your GP, as we don’t click joints back into place.

Make an appointment here for a full osteopathic assessment and treatment in Leicestershire or Rutland

Long Covid

Long Covid is a poorly understood condition, and new information is still emerging. This post was last updated in February 2022

Long covid

Early reports (before the vaccine roll-out) suggested that around 4.5% of people who contracted covid would still suffer the effects 8 weeks later. 2.3% still had symptoms 12 weeks after onset. However, we expect to see fewer new cases of long covid now that the majority of the adult population has been vaccinated. ONS reports that people are 13% less likely to report LC symptoms after the first jab, and 9% less likely again after the second.

Symptoms of Long Covid

The most common symptoms, as identified by a survey of over 1500 LC patients, were:

  1. fatigue (affecting the vast majority of those surveyed)
  2. muscle aches
  3. shortness of breath
  4. difficulty concentrating
  5. inability to exercise
  6. headache

There are a number of cross overs in these symptoms with conditions like ME/CFS and fibromyalgia. Osteopaths are qualified to help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

As muscle aches and headaches are symptoms that we often help with, it’s important that we are informed about Long Covid. Patients may come to clinic looking for pain relief without realising that their symptoms are the long term effects of a covid infection.

Management Strategies

As LC is a new condition, management protocols are few and far between. There have been articles published in medical journals suggesting potential strategies, such as one in the BMJ. This post recognises the difficulty in managing LC, but also the importance of a multidisciplinary approach.

Initial assessment should be done by your GP or hospital team. Pre-existing conditions can be affected by LC, for example blood sugar management in diabetes can be more difficult. Your medical team can also watch out for red flags and other complications.

When your team is happy with your progress, you may benefit from a wider multidisciplinary team. The BMJ article mentioned above puts emphasis on mental health support, return to exercise where appropriate, and improving general health. If you do not receive sufficient support to rebuild your capacity for exercise, your osteopath can take on this role. We can prescribe and monitor exercises, while addressing the mechanical changes that may contribute to your reduced ability.

Changes in Breathing and Osteopathy

We have written before about the role of stress on breathing. When the diaphragm is dysfunctional, breathing is less efficient, and smaller muscles are recruited to help around the shoulders. This can be associated with headaches– another feature of long covid. Work to the diaphragm and associated muscles aims to improve breathing efficiency. With this we hope that you will be able to breathe deeper and easier, improving fatigue and exercise capacity. With these muscles under less demand, muscular pains in the shoulders and neck should begin to settle.

Make an appointment in Leicestershire or Rutland here

Cranial Osteopathy and Celebrity Parents

Cranial osteopathy for babies is no stranger to celebrities. Kate Lawler of Virgin Radio is one of the latest to seek treatment for her newborn.

What is cranial osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy involves gentle treatment of the head and neck. Adults can be treated cranially too, but as babies’ skull bones are not solidly fused, they may be more receptive to treatment. Techniques are gentle, and focus on minute movements of the skull and neck joints.

Your osteopath may also want to work more locally on problem areas. Like with adults, sometimes a baby might have a tight muscle that’s causing discomfort. Direct, gentle stretching might be the quickest way to make progress.

Cranial osteopathy for babies

Why do people do it?

Birth is inherently traumatic to babies, and can leave them with areas of tension. Even babies who had relatively easy births can have problems like torticollis, where the neck is tight on one side. This might be subtle, but can still make feeding difficult, or lead to a flat spot on the head due to continued pressure on one side. Young babies can only communicate by crying, so sometimes an unsettled baby might actually be a baby with tension. Subtle aches and pains might interfere with sleep without leaving many other clues.

Other celebrity parents to recently seek cranial treatment for their babies include Pippa Middleton and Cara De La Hoyde. Their babies’ colic and general fussiness were the reasons for pursuing treatment.

What should I expect from cranial treatment?

During the first session, your osteopath will take a full case history, asking you about baby’s current health and anything relevant from pregnancy or birth. They may then ask you to undress baby so they can examine them. This might involve moving joints and feeling how baby moves on their own. Other times the osteopath may be more focused on the head and neck alone. Treatment itself is not much of a spectator support. Subtle movements in the head and neck are performed while baby is in a relatively comfortable position. Periodically, your osteopath may reassess the problem areas to monitor how treatment is going.

Your osteopath may also treat other areas of the body directly. Sometimes babies hold tension in the diaphragm, which can be associated with digestive issues like reflux. It can also limit how deeply they can breathe, and encourage further tightness in the neck and shoulders. Treating the diaphragm directly is sometimes the quicker way to get results, or treating in conjunction with work on the neck can help. The nerves that supply the diaphragm leave the spinal cord in the neck, so the two areas together can be useful.

What qualifications should my osteopath have?

All osteopaths must be registered with the GOsC. This means that they have completed a recognised qualification, which might be a DO, BSc, or M.Ost.

Cranial osteopathy can be learnt in a post-graduate course. Some courses are specifically focused on treating babies and children, whereas others are more general. Depending on the course, your osteopath may have additional letters after their name, or they might just have their osteopathy qualification.

You can book your baby in for cranial osteopathy here.

Hormones and Pain

Pain is complicated, and what we feel is dependent on countless factors, including hormones. We’ve spoken before about how lifestyle factors, as well as psychology and medication can affect chronic pain.

Hormones can be linked to pain

Thyroid Hormones and Pain

Hyperthyroidism, where the body produces too much thyroid hormone, and hypothyroidism, where it doesn’t produce enough, are quite common conditions. Symptoms of either can be quite vague, so may be mistaken for something else. Although there are a lot of causes for these conditions, levels can be easily checked with a blood test.

Beyond the sometimes painful symptoms of hyperthyroidism, thyroid hormones appear to have an effect on pain processing. The exact relationship is unknown, but it seems that higher levels of the hormone are linked to pain from hot or cold stimuli.

The NHS website notes that hypothyroidism is associated with a sensitivity to cold. It also mentions pins and needles and carpal tunnel syndrome. Hyperthyroidism can cause a sensitivity to heat.

There may also be a link between thyroid problems and incidence of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia still remains largely unexplained, so to find associations with factors like hormone levels could be promising.

Oestrogen and Testosterone

One study noted links between fibromyalgia and oestrogen changes in the menstrual cycle. The same study reported generally higher rates of pain with higher levels of oestrogen. This included artificial oestrogen, such as the combined contraceptive pill. HRT is another form of artificial hormone, and may be associated with an increase in jaw joint pain.

The same paper looked at the effects of testosterone. It showed that male mice recovered from sciatica quicker and more completely than the females. In human studies, the authors noted that women appear to suffer less neck and shoulder pain associated with desk work if their testosterone levels are higher. Both men and women also seemed less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis if their testosterone levels are high.

We need to bear in mind that it won’t be hormones alone that are responsible for these differences. The paper recognised that they are “thought to be one of the main mechanisms explaining sex differences in pain perception”, but other factors such including psychosocial ones will be at play.

Menopause

With the knowledge that oestrogen has an effect on pain, it is not surprising that the menopause is associated with changes in pain sensitivity. Some women find that their headaches dissipate once they go through the menopause, whereas others might develop a migraine for the first time.

Another paper looked specifically at lower back pain and the menopause. Again, it recognised that pain is multifactorial, and that we need to consider biology, psychology, and social factors.

Stress perceptions, tension, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating—increase throughout the transition, and have been found to be associated with an increase in back pain.

We need to recognise that the menopause is associated with increased pain for a number of reasons.

In a slightly different vein, pain may be higher post-menopause because injury is more likely. As oestrogen levels drop, so does collagen. Collagen’s role is to create strong, somewhat elastic tissue, such as cartilage. Less collagen is linked to higher levels of joint pain and cartilage degeneration. This is the process that also underpins osteoarthritis. Lower oestrogen is also a factor in the development of osteoporosis, which increases the likelihood of fractures.

Click here to make an appointment in Leicestershire.

Fourth Trimester Aches and Pains

The fourth trimester is a baby’s first three months of life. During this period, both the baby and parents undergo huge changes, developmentally, emotionally, and physically. The demands are high and the learning curve is steep. We talk about sports injuries happening when you suddenly increase your exercise, or start a new one suddenly. The first few months with a newborn require just that: new activities and lots of them.

Post-Partum Recovery

After the relatively quick changes of pregnancy come the even quicker adjustments to post-partum. In some cases, this means sudden resolution of pain. In other cases it means the opposite. Either way, the centre of gravity changes with birth, so the posture of pregnancy needs to change immediately. Aches and pains may come and go, but your osteopath can help if they don’t resolve on their own.

After a caesarean, you should be advised on management of your scar, including hygiene and mobilisation techniques. Follow the advice for the rest period and reduced lifting- this is major abdominal surgery. Research now leans away from the notion that a “weak” core leads to lower back pain, even after surgery.

Feeding Baby in the Fourth Trimester

Bottle and breastfeeding require awkward positions, sometimes for long periods. This can be especially true overnight, when the struggle to stay awake while feeding compounds the issue. If your body is working well, you can maintain almost any position for a short while without discomfort: movement is the key. This is easier said than done if you’ve finally got the perfect latch and don’t want to move baby (or if they’ve fallen asleep mid-feed), but there are changes you can make to your own posture without affecting theirs.

Try and set yourself up in a relatively symmetrical position before feeding. This won’t be perfect, as feeding is not a symmetrical activity. If you need one elbow bent- particularly if it is supporting baby’s weight, make sure you have something to support it. Try not to spend the whole feed looking down at baby and make sure you’re not putting too much strain through your wrists. The image below shows a position that is likely to become uncomfortable quickly, but it could be perfectly effective for a short while.

Fourth trimester: feeding a newborn

If you’re breastfeeding, you may prefer to try other positions. Side lying in bed can give your neck and arms a rest, and you might even be able to roll away if baby falls asleep mid-feed.

Carrying Baby and their Apparatus

During the fourth trimester, babies rarely want to be away from their parents. Even putting them down for naps can be impossible, so to get anything done you might try a carrier. There are both soft and structured carriers available, and it may be a case of trying a few to determine which suits you and your baby.

Not forgetting that it’s not always the baby themselves who is the problem! Car seats can be heavy and ungainly, and manoeuvring a pushchair into a car is not always as easy as you’d expect. Safe lifting typically involves lifting “within your base”, meaning you want to keep the item you’re lifting as close to your body as possible. Leaning forwards to lift something puts more strain on the muscles than lifting something up from between your feet.

Car seats for the youngest babies are often too bulky to hold within your base while allowing your legs space to move. Baby car seats often have a little handle on the side for this reason. Loop your arm through the main handle, and hold onto the smaller one on the side. Keep your arm close to your side to distribute the weight more centrally, and to leave space for you to walk.

Make an appointment in Leicestershire for a Fourth Trimester check up.