Back pain is common among Carers. Nurses and care assistants never lift anyone on their own but most of the time, as a Carer, you will have no choice. Even helping someone to dress or move from bed to chair can take its toll on your back. Ask your GP to refer you to the community physiotherapist. They can visit to assess your needs and also show you the correct way to lift and move someone safely and minimise the risks.
When you transfer or move someone:
- Allow the person you care for to help as much as possible.
- Always tell them what you plan to do and always leave plenty of time in which to do it.
- Always wear sensible shoes and comfortable clothes.
- Make sure the space around is clear. Before you begin the lift, stand in front of the person and as close as possible to them. Place your legs apart and move the person a little at a time rather than in one movement.
- Try not to lift and twist at the same time. Go round slowly using tiny steps.
- Bend at the knees and hips and tense your stomach muscles to take the strain off your back.
- If you have back pain, don’t ignore it. Your GP may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to calm strained muscles. There is no need to be immobile. Very gentle stretching exercises will help your muscles to relax. But avoid lifting while your back is in pain. Think about getting some lifting and turning aids to help you. An occupational therapist can advise on what is most appropriate.
- Ask about West Cork Carers Support Group’s Patient Transfer & Back Care course.