This week, 3rd – 8th October 2016 is BackCare Awareness Week. The focus this year is ‘Caring for Carers’.
Carers provide invaluable help and assistance to their children, friends, relatives, and partners. It is estimated that there are around 7 million unpaid carers in the UK.
But what happens when their work leads to back pain, compromising their ability to care?
Back pain is endemic among carers: a 2011 survey found that 70% of carers experienced back and shoulder pain. This issue seriously affects the quality of life of those who should be most valued in our society, as well as impacting on their caregiving work, which saves the NHS and local authorities very significant sums of money.
BackCare Charity aims to significantly reduce the burden of back pain by providing information and education to all people and organisations affected by back pain and to fund scientific research into the causes, prevention and management of back pain.
If you’re a carer, you can download BackCare’s publication ‘A Carer’s Guide to the Safe Moving and Handling of People’.
Our Top Tips for a Healthy Back
- Try and exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be specific back exercises, walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates – any regular movement will help to strengthen your back muscles. Pilates is an ideal form of exercise for all ages and strengthens your core muscles that support your spine.
- If you do feel some back pain, keep active and moving. Take a look at a previous blog for more advice as to what to do if you do get some back pain.
- Get specialist training on manual handling techniques to make sure you protect yourself and the person you are caring for. Use appropriate equipment to help you whenever possible but again, make sure you have the right training to use it correctly.
- Think about your posture. Avoid slumping or staying in 1 position for extended lengths of time. This puts undue stress on your body which can lead to issues.
- Rotate and pace your caring tasks if you can, break up heavier tasks with lighter ones or alternate with a walk. If you can get help to share your responsibilities or can find the opportunity to take a break, accept this help. Your body needs a chance to recover too.
If you do suffer with back pain, either a long term recurring problem or a severe one off episode, please do get in touch with us. We can help find out what’s going on and provide a comprehensive treatment programme to help your recovery and more important help you become more resilient to back pain in the future.