The UK is home to 7 million unpaid carers. These are people who provide care and support to an ailing or disabled family member, friend or neighbour on an ongoing basis. They represent an unpaid and often invisible workforce that saves the Government a staggering £119 billion every year ! As a carer you are more likely to be affected by back and joint pain. This is all due to the increased demand that is placed on your body by lifting the person you care for and helping them dress, wash or move around. In addition to this, the role of carer, especially when caring for a spouse or close family member, can create unique emotional stresses. However, knowing how to protect your back can help to keep it in good shape and minimise your physically and emotional stress .
Below we have listed some important tips and advice that can help you keep your self moving and feeling well whilst caring for others.
If you are regularly having to lift the person you care for, or help them in and out of bed, you may find that this can put extra strain on your back. Your local council, or local carers’ organisation, should be able to tell you about training opportunities in how to lift and move more safely to reduce the risk of harming your back. Alternatively, your district nurse may be able to show you ways to lift and move more safely. Ask your GP or practice manager for more information. You may be able to get more direct, practical help. If you have not had one, ask your local council for a carer’s assessment. This will look at your needs as a carer, and is a chance for you to talk about the kind of help you need.
Improve your posture
Poor posture can put you at increased risk of back problems by putting extra strain on your back. This can affect your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, and in the long term, can cause painful problems such as muscle, joint and disc damage, and constricted vessels and nerves. Just being aware of how you are sitting and standing can greatly improve your posture. You should stand upright with your head facing forward and your back straight. And when sitting, make sure you are upright, with your knees and hips level and your feet flat on the floor or on a footstool. Don’t hunch your shoulders or slump in your chair. Bending and lifting are also key areas to get right, you can find more tips and advice in our blog here.
There are two types of back pain: acute back pain, which comes on suddenly and lasts less than three months; and chronic back pain, which develops slowly, lasts more than 12 weeks, and causes long-term problems. Both can be successfully treated with Chiropractic care.To find out more click here
Over 70% the UK’s unpaid carers now suffer from back pain, and are a greater risk of developing chronic pain, which is highly disabling in a third of cases and life-long for the majority. The national back pain charity, BackCare is working to help the UK carers with this year’s Back Care Awareness Week (3rd – 8th of October 2016). Please feel free to share our blog with a friend, colleague or family member. For more information contact us on 01600 890282
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