I had to take a required class on ‘taking care of your back’ as one of my in-service mandatory trainings.
Did you know that there are two different types of back pain?
Acute back pain more than likely is caused from an accident or injury.
Usually not long lasting.
Chronic back pain seems to last an eternity and never goes away.
My back will start hurting one day and I have no idea what I did to stir that baby up.
That’s chronic back pain.
Are you living with back pain from putting in a lot of time caring for an elderly parents at home?
Here is a report that shows a recent study, that providing care to your aging loved one may cause a significant impact on the mental and physical health of caregivers—including their back and spine health.
Down thru the years of caring for mom I learned that improper lifting is not always the main cause of back problems.
Having poor posture is the #1 main enemy.
So there you have it…
I was shocked to find this out too.
There are 3 curves in your spine and having the correct balance is key.
- cervical curve
- thoracic curve
- lumbar curve
And I also found out that as we always heard down thru the years of ‘putting your chest out and shoulders back’ is NOT good posture.
Remember being told by your parents when we were young to straighten up and put your chest out and your shoulder back?
It puts a sway in your back.
- keep your back in its natural curve for balance
- the muscles in your back, legs and your stomach help to keep you balanced
- no matter whether you are lying down, sitting up or standing
- Bend at the hips and knees
- Keep a straight back
- Maintain the natural curve in your back
- Always stand with your feet flat to the ground.
- Dropping your shoulders and puff up your breast bone.
- Relax the joints and/or muscles that have gotten tensed up.
- Always have your tailbone tilting a little under but forward.
Good posture will give you much more energy.
- It helps your blood to circulate.
- Helps you to breathe much deeper.
- Also allows your internal organs to properly function.
Remember when lifting something heavy it is best to not use your back but your legs.
If you’re moving something that’s quite heavy do NOT pull it but always push it.
You don’t pull a wheelchair, you push it.
Facts about back problems…
Adult children caring for elderly parents have at least one issue with lower back pain.
Lifting, moving or carrying things the wrong way and we do this a lot caring for our older loved ones.
When we’re overweight and that’s my main issue right there. Lol
People don’t exercise and most family caregivers can’t find a spare minute to do this for themself.
Under stress….well that takes in all of us caregivers right there.
Bending a lot which we do.
Most importantly things to remember for preventing shoulder, neck, and back injuries is a proper lifting technique.
To reduce chances of injury, when transferring patients, caregivers should:
- Make sure that your feet are stable, and stand close as possible to loved.
- Facing your parent, slightly bend your knees and squat to lift. Hold your stomach and keep your back straight. This will give you strength and encourage additional power from your legs and arms.
- Maintain a position as close to the person as possible so that excess strain is not placed on your back when leaning over.
- Have your feet point toward the person being lifted. If possible, place one foot in between the person’s feet and one foot to the outside for optimal stability.
When you bend over or lean over this puts a lot of pressure on the lower back.
Only a cold brings people to the doctor more than back problems with major back pain.
Back pain can start early in school kids.
Backpacks is #1 from the weight of their books.
Much of back trouble develops with people of 25-60 but 26% of our kids have endured low back pain.
Taking Care Of Your Back
Health care workers are at the top of the list for back issues because every day as a caregiver we bend, lift, stretch, twist, stoop, push and maybe even pull.
And as caregivers, we have little time to rest and this is a threat to our backs.
There are several websites that will be of help to care for your back.
You can visit these sites and delve into this information for more insight:
Back pain gets both male and female caregivers.
Dealing with back issues can radiate, shoot, squeeze, can sting, stab or burn besides that it can pinch, cramp, pound or throb.
WOW back pain can be dull or it can be sharp.
Often back pain can cause your legs to go numb and also have weakness in the legs.
Sometimes back issues can bring on depression or anxiety.
The back can keep you from a good night sleep.
Your back and your spine
Our back is where the spine is.
A spine is made up of a lot of little bones called vertebrae.
Vertebraes are stacked up on each other and forms a column.
Now between every vertebrae which is the same thing as your backbone are discs that are like little cushions.
Your backbone is all held together with ligaments and your muscles support the vertebrae.
One of the jobs of your spine is to support the body and your head.
The spine helps you to bend, lean over and also twist.
An important part of the backbone is to protects your spinal cord and your nerves.
The lower part of your back does most of the supporting of your body weight.
When there are minor problems with your bones or even your muscles will cause you pain.
Sleeping the wrong way or in an awkward way.
If you would happen to fall this can and probably will damage your back in some way.
Most important is our posture so be aware of your posture.
Arthritis is a BIG culprit for back pain in elderly people.
Preventing Caregiver Injuries: How to Lift Safely
Protecting and ensuring the safety our aging population is of main importance for in-home caregivers.
However, most caregivers have their focus on the elderly loved on and forget to think about protecting themselves from injury.
We can’t provide a safe and secure environment for their care if we don’t protect ourself.
Avoiding injury like our back and shoulders which is the most common of all, can be accomplished when we get the right education and attention to body positioning when lifting, turning and transferring patients from one location to another.
Some family caregivers taking care of parents or grandparents are simply not suited for such physical stress.
With the physical demands of lifting, turning and moving or transferring loved ones, injury to our back can occur.
A lot of in home caregivers are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s like me.
We need to protect ourself as well as protect our loved ones therefore safety is vital.
Learning how to practice good body movements in all aspects of home care is very important in preventing injuries that affects nearly 52 percent of caregivers.
Don’t let back pain keep you from caring for an elderly parent
Caregiving is a dangerous job and back injuries have always been serious risk of for caregivers and nurses.
As we grow older there are changes that occur as we age.
The discs in between each vertebra lose some of their water content and the vertebrae get closer together.
Treatment for back pain
Medication, they put my mother on prednisone and it really helped for arthritis.
Surgery is an option but really do your homework and due diligence.
When I had back issues my doctor had me walk. AND I mean walking fast.
It scared me at first but when I got started it was amazing the results I got.
Alternating ice/heat every 20 minutes.
A couple tips for a healthy back while driving.
Always adjust your car seat closer to the steering wheel.
When driving long distances always stop every couple of hours so you can walk and take a stretch.
A few tips around the house.
Wear good shoes. NOT cheap ones.
Have your television at eye level and watch TV directly from the front.
Include stretching exercises and increase your flexibility to prevent injuries.
Doing aerobic exercises, walking and swimming increase circulation.
Always Protect Your BACK When Caring for your Loved One