Preventing Back Pain and Injury Among Family Caregivers

Caregiving comes with significant risks, both psychological and physical. One potential physical risk is back pain. It is not uncommon for caregivers to experience pain or injury as a result of their duties. It often comes from lifting and transporting the loved ones they care for. Below are some simple tips for preventing back pain.

• Admit to feeling pain when it first comes on: Acceptance is the first step to problem solving. The pain signals that something in your processes needs to be adjusted.

• Know your limitations: Oftentimes, injuries result from overexertion. If you are experiencing back pain, do not attempt to lift heavy people on your own. Also, if you are unsure about how to safely move the person, do not try to move him or her on your own.

• Use proper lifting techniques: Improper form while lifting is a major contributing factor to pain and injury. For example: Keeping your feet shoulder width apart and keeping your back straight while lifting can help reduce risk of injury.

• Keep yourself fit: Regular exercise helps improve muscle strength and endurance. See a doctor first before beginning any new fitness routine.

• Get an in-home consultation about techniques and devices that can help with lifting a person.

Seeing a physical therapist who specializes in back pain might also be a good idea.

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