We’ve Got Your Back! Back Health Hints for Caregivers

Caregivers are often in positions where their back and neck may be stressed because of the necessary bending forward, which places tension on the back and neck. Caregiver stress can exacerbate back pain from an injury, or make a prior injury feel worse. Physical changes that occur throughout the aging process are a complicating factor as well, because we lose flexibility as we age.

You may be a caregiver that is elderly and helping your spouse or friend. Or, you may be in your 40s and a sandwich generation caregiver, taking care of toddlers as well as your parents or grandparents. Whatever the case, preventing back injury is part of taking care of you as a caregiver.

How to Care for Yourself

  • Increase your capacity and tolerance by strengthening your back and abdominal muscles
  • Get into yoga or at least practice stretching to increase flexibility
  • Include cardiovascular exercise
  • Be sure to visit your own physician on a regular basis and ask them how you can help your back health
  • Take your medications as directed by your physicians
  • Drink water
  • Take breaks

Lifting Technique Hints

  • Do not over exert
  • Stand close to the person you are assisting
  • Stand with your legs apart
  • Bend your knees as far as comfortable
  • Lift with your leg and back muscles
  • Lift slowly, do not make a jerking motion
  • Avoid twisting while lifting (If you have done this and become injured – you know how painful this is!)

Take care of your back so that you can keep caring – for yourself and others!backpain