How To Avoid Back Injuries As A Caregiver
Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 17, 2019
Whether you work in healthcare or simply provide care for an elderly family member, you may have noticed how often you’re asked to be in odd positions. Whether you’re helping lift them out of a chair or bending over to help them put on shoes, caregiving can put a lot of strain on your spine. Today, we share some tips for how you can help to prevent back pain while acting as a caregiver.
Preventing Back Pain As A Caregiver
Here are some tips for keeping back pain at bay when acting as someone’s caregiver.
- Proper Lifting – This is probably one of the most important points, especially because you may need to be doing some heavy lifting without assistance, so it’s imperative that you bend with your knees and not at the waist. Depending on the setting you’re in, you may also be able to use lifts or harnesses, or better yet, grab someone else to perform a tandem lift. Keep your head and neck in proper alignment with your spine, avoiding twisting while carrying the person and keep your feet shoulder-width apart to maintain balance.
- Exercise – When you’re not providing care, take some time to strengthen your body in the form of exercise. Aside from keeping you healthy, exercise can help build muscle groups that are important in the caregiving process. Work on strengthening your spine-supporting muscles, especially your core.
- Know Your Limits – Don’t try to do too much when it comes to providing care. If lifting a person onto a bed or helping them with a shower is too much to ask for one person, make sure you wait until help arrives. Trying to do too much on your own is a recipe for overstressing your spine. Just like the person who you’re providing care for has limits, you too have to be careful about overdoing it.
- Assistive Devices – Finally, assistive devices are great for helping both you and the person you’re providing care for. Whether that’s a back brace for you or an indoor walker for the person you’re helping, assistive technologies can help us perform activities that otherwise might be difficult. Don’t shy away from these devices because you think you can do it on your own or because the person you’re caring for is stubborn. If it’s going to help you or them, and it’s going to increase your likelihood of staying injury-free, make it a part of your daily routine.
Providing care for someone can take a toll on your health as well, so if you or the person you’re caring for has begun to develop back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office. We can help provide you with a diagnosis and treat back problems before they get worse. For more information, call his office at (651) 430-3800.