According to BackCare, 70% of carers will suffer from back pain and are at a greater risk of developing chronic pain. This obviously leads to further complications for both carer and patient and often results in more stress and anxiety.
To prevent back problems when caring for others it's important you look after yourself before you look after the person in your care. This may sound selfish to some, but If you're in poor condition, or use bad technique to lift, then you're ultimately going to be no help at all.
Below are two tips to help you look after your own back.
First, here's a very useful video on how to help someone out of a wheelchair - but note the position of the carer is also one to use for a chair.
- Rest your head on a paperback - ensure it's not too thick so your chin isn't tucking in towards your throat, or too thin so your head is tipped back.
- Let your shoulders and lower back relax so you can feel your shoulder blades and lower back sink to the floor (but don't push down)
- Let your thigh bones 'rest; against your shin bones and be aware of the weight dropping into your feet.
- Focus on the movement of your ribs but don't try to take deep breaths - just let the air flow in and out of your nose.
- Imagine your spine is lengthening as your discs thicken and let it 'push' your head and pelvis in opposite directions.
- Spend twenty minutes letting the floor support your body.
Do try to make time for yourself during the day where possible - it will help you in the long run.
Wendy Goodman, Roy Palmer and Jane Morris are also all officially registered Back Care Professionals with the Back Care Organisation and can be found on the “search a practitioner” tool.