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Backcare awareness week 7-11th October

This year Backcare awareness week if focusing on Carers, they have a very physical job caring for others but often get forgotten about. Carers provide invaluable help and assistance to their children, friends, relatives, and partners, but what happens when their work leads to back pain, compromising their ability to care?

Back pain is endemic among carers: a 2011 survey found that 70% of carers experienced back and shoulder pain*. This issue seriously affects the quality of life of those who should be most valued in our society, as well as impacting on their caregiving work, which saves the NHS and local authorities very significant sums of money

I treat a number of carers that find McTimoney Chiropractic has helped with their back pain and enabled them to care for others with minimal pain. One of my patients said “I have suffered with back pain for the last 25 years, 9 years ago I changed my profession from the building industry to being a Carer and have found that my back pain can be quite debilitating when trying to push the wheelchair but after 5 session with Rachel I no longer suffer with back pain and I feel my back is so much stronger now.” Brian Holland

It is not only important to seek professional help for your back pain but it is also important to understand the correct manual handling techniques when lifting. Below are a few tips on what to do when lifting to help take the strain of the back.

  • Think before lifting/handling. Plan the lift. Can handling aids be used? Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load? Remove obstructions such as discarded wrapping materials. For a long lift, consider resting the load midway on a table or bench to change grip.
  • Adopt a stable position. The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground). The worker should be prepared to move their feet during the lift to maintain their stability. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which may make this difficult.
  • Get a good hold. Where possible, the load should be hugged as close as possible to the body. This may be better than gripping it tightly with hands only.  Start in a good posture. At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).
  • Don’t flex the back any further while lifting. This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load.
  • Keep the load close to the waist. Keep the load close to the body for as long as possible while lifting. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body. If a close approach to the load is not possible, try to slide it towards the body before attempting to lift it.
  • Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially while the back is bent. Shoulders should be kept level and facing in the same direction as the hips. Turning by moving the feet is better than twisting and lifting at the same time.
  • Keep the head up when handling. Look ahead, not down at the load, once it has been held securely.
  • Move smoothly. The load should not be jerked or snatched as this can make it harder to keep control and can increase the risk of injury.
  • Don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed. There is a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift. If in doubt, seek advice or get help.

If you know anyone that is a carer or just has a manual job that may put a strain on their back then tell them to come to 21st Century Clinic 7-11th October for a FREE spine check.