More than 70 per cent of the UK’s unpaid carers now suffer from back pain, and are at a greater risk of developing chronic pain, which is highly disabling in a third of cases and life-long for the majority.
For many carers physical activity,such as lifting, is a significant part of their daily routine. However, not all carers will be aware of their back health and the British Chiropractic Association has some great advice.
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has developed a set of simple tips for carers:
Think ahead: assess each situation and look for the best and easiest way to achieve the desired result, this may mean using any available equipment whether it be for specialist lifting or a simple sack barrow for moving boxes of supplies.
Follow the weight: always try and face the direction in which you want to carry any weight.
Take care when lifting: never lift while twisting from the waist. Bend your knees, try to have a relaxed, straight back and if possible, brace your abdominal muscles.
Ask for training: whether you are caring in a formal setting or helping someone at home, make sure you have been properly trained in how to use any equipment.
Supportive shoes are essential: wear good, soft-soled shoes that are supportive and have a good grip.
Take regular breaks: if doing a repetitive task, take a break every 20 minutes and do some simple stretches to relax your muscles.
You can also find out more from the national back pain charity Backcare.