Preventing caregiver back pain is an incredibly relevant topic to discuss. As many as 1 in 3 adults in the US act as an informal caregiver for a loved one. That’s an estimated 42.1 million people. Many of these caregivers have no experience or training on the manual aspects of being a caretaker, resulting in unnecessary injuries. Keep reading for more information on preventing caregiver back pain.
Utilize proper lifting techniques.
To lift an item (or person) properly, face the item and bend at your knees. Grip the item and lift, ensuring your back is straight. Don’t twist or turn while lifting, as it can place unnecessary stress on your spine. And you’re going to want to hold the item close to your body. The further the item is from your body, the more it stresses your spine.
In addition to practicing the proper technique, there are many lifting aids available to purchase such as sliding boards, lift sheets, and gait belts.
Add stretching to your daily routine.
The following stretches can help to relieve or prevent back pain. As with all exercise regimens, please consult your physician before you begin. Additional stretches for back pain relief can be found on our blog Stretching For Back Pain Relief.
(A) To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent. (B) Pull one knee to your chest with both of your hands and hold for 10-20 seconds before returning to the starting position. (C) Repeat with your other leg and return to the starting position. (D) Then, repeat the stretch with both legs at the same time. Repeat each stretch 3-5 times each day.
(A) Start with your hands and knees on the ground. (B) Arch your back up toward the ceiling and hold for 10-20 seconds. (C) Slowly arch your back down towards the floor and hold for 10-20 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat each stretch 3-5 times each day.
Recognize your limits as a caregiver.
Many caregivers are so focused on caring for their loved one that they begin to let their own health slide. It’s important to continue to take care of yourself, be realistic of the care you can provide, and seek or accept help when needed.
While there are many more tips to share on preventing caregiver back pain, these three tips should provide a basic understanding. If you or a loved one is experiencing back pain, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified surgeons.