Giving Horsey Rides To A Child? Here’s How To Prevent Back Pain

Many young and not-so-young children enjoy horsey rides on adults — in other words, hop on the adult's back, hang on tightly, and encourage the adult to run or crawl around like a horse. If you have children, nieces, or nephews, you might commonly find yourself in the role of "horsey" — especially if you've given rides in the past and they went over well. The risk of this activity is that it can lead to back pain and the need for one or more chiropractic adjustments, especially if the child you're carrying is heavy. Although you still want to keep the activity fun, it's valuable to use some rules to keep the risk of an injury low:

Stand, Don't Crawl

Children often love horsey rides in which the adult crawls around on all fours. This position most accurately mimics a horse, but can be highly dangerous for your back health — and can also lead to pain in your knees and wrists. When you're on all fours and a child is sitting on your back, he or she is putting downward pressure on your spine. It might not take too many rides before you notice sharp pain that suggests your back has been pushed out of alignment. Insist on giving your rides while standing up, much in the same manner as a piggyback ride. In this position, there's not as much pressure directly on your back.

Have The Child Hold You Tightly

When you're carrying around a child on your back, you want him or her to hold on tightly. This isn't just about the child's safety, although holding on tightly can prevent the child falling off your back. If the child loosens his or her grip, his or her torso can pull away from yours — and this can cause you to involuntarily move into an awkward position in an attempt to get the child back under control, which may result in back pain. When the child is snug against your body, this won't be an issue.

Ask The Child Not To Bounce

Adventurous children will often want to bounce up and down as they're riding, imagining themselves as cowboys. These impacts, however, especially when you aren't expecting them, can potentially jar your back and leave you pain. Impress upon the child that he or she should not bounce or otherwise move around while you're giving the horsey ride. Adherence to these rules will keep your back healthy, which will allow you to give many rides in the future. If you do experience discomfort after this activity, however, see a chiropractor for an assessment and back pain adjustment.