Back Care Awareness Week is nearly upon us (October 7-11) and this year, the campaign is “Caring for Carers”….and what more deserving population could there be than the 6.5 million people in the UK who go about this largely unrecognised, unrelenting, and unpaid work so crucial to our society and our economy (they save us £119 billion a year!)? People in this situation are twice as likely as the rest of us to suffer ill health as a direct consequence of the stress and physical demands of caring. So…let’s take the opportunity to champion their cause and cheer them on!
Carers tips for avoiding back problems:
- Remember you have to look after yourself in order to be able to look after someone else, so don’t take unnecessary risks with lifting and manoeuvring.
- The best method for lifting is to keep the load as close to you as you can, keep your back straight and upright, and lift from bent hips and knees. This makes the big thigh and bottom muscles take the strain, not your back.
- Sometimes, you have to bend eg. over a bath or bed rail. Where possible, get the best equipment (a walk-in bath, for instance). You may be eligible to have suitable equipment fitted. Ask your GP for an assessment from an occupational therapist.
- You can get training to show you practical and safe methods of lifting. Ask your local social services, carers’ organisation, or GP.
- Think about your own fitness and posture. Regular exercise to keep yourself strong will give you the best chance to care without hurting yourself. Find something you enjoy, from classes such as Pilates or Zumba, to cycling or Nordic walking.
- When you get up, try to allow a little time for your body to “warm up” before undertaking bending and lifting duties. Your back is at its most vulnerable first thing in the morning because your spinal discs are “recharged” with fluid after a night’s rest, and so under most pressure; and your brain-body co-ordination takes a little waking up – so a sudden awkward movement could really put your back out!
Pennington Osteopathy will be offering a 50% fee reduction for treatment for anyone receiving a carer’s allowance during Back Care Awareness Week, and 25% off during the rest of October! Click here for our contact details.
Carers UK – a fantastic source of support and advice for carers
Backcare – the charity for healthier backs
British Osteopathic Association – information on how osteopathy can help
Carer’s Assessment – how to get an assessment of your needs in Surrey
Crossroads – charity providing respite care for carers in Surrey