Coping with a slipped disc when looking after a baby


Photo courtesy of gogogadgetscott, Flickr, Creative Commons

Looking after a new baby is tough enough. Looking after a baby with a slipped disc is a whole extra set of challenges. Faith H explains.

I am finally pain free! Having had a nerve root block in the second slipped disc in my neck I am now out of pain and want to share the difficulties of looking after a little one with a slipped disc (Victoria Beckham, I fully sympathise!)

My first disc slipped (c5/c6) pre-pregnancy and was treated successfully with a nerve root block injection. I fell pregnant quite soon after this treatment and had to rest up due to terrible morning sickness, so my neck became pain free through doing not a lot.

Having had Edie (nearly 8 months) by emergency c section in January, I started to feel some of the old symptoms back: aching and stiff neck, shooting pain into the shoulder and down the arm into the hand. I was more than a little concerned.

Being fully responsible for this little person I was terrified at how I was going to cope.

In the early days, she was light enough in weight to handle as regularly as a new born needed to be, but by about 2 to 3 months I was finding life quite difficult. I remember signing up for various classes and after doing the taster sessions being bitterly disappointed at the struggle of not being able as active as the other new Mums.

Bath time was a total nightmare.

Poor Edie had the quickest baths in history. Leaning over the edge of the bath and holding her safely was quite a daunting task. I never knew when the next neck spasm or shooting pain would occur. A new bath time gadget which I could put her in did eventually help, but again, those feelings of guilt were all too consuming.

I felt I wasn’t being a good enough Mum to her.

Everything I did, everywhere I went, I really had to think about how I was going to manage with Edie. I felt utterly terrible at the thought of constantly needing somewhere to put her down so I didn’t have to carry her so much.

I’ve always dealt with things in such a ‘I can cope’ manner that accepting help doesn’t come easily at all. Fortunately family and friends all know this part of my personality and have all been amazing at helping me with her and not making me feel like a wimp and an awful mother!

It was in May that following a long drive on an open road on a windy day with our newish roof box on the car, I felt something ‘go’.

That evening I was in agony.

I had been holding so tightly onto the wheel of the car that my neck had really suffered. I had regular neck spasms where I could barely move, and was so scared that if I picked Edie up or held her for a long time that I would be paralysed (slightly neurotic reaction, but when you’re in so much pain you think anything could happen!).

Following a meeting with two consultants I had repeat injections into the disc in June including an epidural which just seemed to aggravate the whole area. Throughout the summer I’ve been in agony as the injections didn’t work.

Another trip back to the consultant followed by an MRI scan showed that the original disc had repaired itself and the disc above had now slipped. Hence this round of injections didn’t work. The good news was no surgery required, but another round of injections at c4/c5, which I had yesterday.

This morning I feel like a new woman and although not totally out of pain, about 90% less pain.

Most of the time I have managed to put a brave face on and just ‘get on with it’, but behind the scenes I have been really upset, in terrible pain and wondering when it would all change. I am hopeful that from today I can start to have a more normal life and not stress and worry about what I am doing and where I am going with Edie and if I can put her down safely somewhere.

I can take a positive away from all this of course. I have an amazing baby, who brings us such joy and happiness, and on the flip side I am now quite grateful that I’ve not been able to handle her as much as I’ve wanted as she is turning out to be quite the independent young thing and happy to play on her own with her toys, rolling around on the floor quite content, happy as ever!

  • Emily Hewett

    What a nightmare! I’m so glad that finally you have some pain relief – here’s hoping it stays that way and you can enjoy time with your beautiful daughter : )

  • Emily

    So glad to hear you’re feeling better, Faith. I struggled with my pelvis after having Joel, which made pushing the pushchair, vacuuming etc quite hard, but never had to face anything like the pain you describe. I understand you feeling bad about your mummying abilities at the time (we all beat ourselves up), but it sounds like you coped amazingly well!

  • Emmalustig

    Thank you for posting this.  It has really given me some hope.  I’ve had a lower back problem for over 5 months. I’m waiting to see a consultant next week and then hopefully have an MRI.  I saw the physio today and with my symptoms including bi-lateral sciatica she is convinced it is a slipped disc at L5/S1.  My daughter is 8 months old and I have a five year old son.  Like you, I feel awful for dreading to have to pick my daughter up.  I live in a second floor flat with no lift so to get out of the flat and taking my son to school and picking him up each day is about all I can cope with.  I feel it’s completely changed me as I used to be really active and busy but it’s great to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.