Ouch.  This week is Back Care Awareness Week.  We’re definitely not taking this one lying down.  See what we did there?

8th -12th October 2019 is Back Care Awareness Week. Who knew?

If you’ve got problems with your back, you’ll know about it.

You’re in agony, whether it’s your lower or upper back.  Standing up hurts, as does moving, walking – living your life, basically. It dominates your waking hours and there are only so many pain killers you want to take.  That is, if you want to take them at all.

If you or someone you know has ongoing back pain that’s much more than the odd sharp twinge, it’s simply awful. The discomfort is that bad.  We know.  We’ve all been there. Or, most of us have.

Did you know that there’s a charity that’s dedicated to this very issue?

What is BackCare?

BackCare (the National Back Pain Association) was founded over 50 years’ ago.  BackCare offers valuable information and support for back and neck pain sufferers throughout the UK. It was founded by the splendidly named Stanley Grundy who suffered a back injury whilst sailing and interestingly, this is a charity that has Prince Charles as its Patron, despite its smaller size.

They sum it up rather well, we think, “Back pain doesn’t kill, it tortures”.

Read more about the charity here:

http://backcare.org.uk/about-us/

BackCare’s remit is relatively simple, in theory: to educate us all on how to prevent and alleviate back pain.  However, it’s not so simple.  We lead busy lives.  We lift things, carry heavy bags, hunch up against the cold, don’t always stand up straight; and it’s so easy to slump in a chair with no regard at all to our poor old spines.

No wonder our backs hurt.

Are you over 60?

This year’s theme of Back Care Awareness Week is “Back pain in Older Adults”, with plenty of special campaigns and education programmes in the media.  Lower back pain becomes more common as we get older, with 2019’s focus on helping people over 60 to understand better about causes and cures.

There are plenty of leaflets, flyers and posters that you can get from BackCare’s useful website (see above)

Is this you?

If you’re caring for someone, you could be in a double bind.  Also, you’re in a high-risk category for back pain.

Why?  Because you may well be picking someone up after a fall, helping them into bed, lifting them onto the sofa, helping them bathe – so many things that will put strain on your back.

Just a heads-up here:

We’re Carers’ Support and we live in the real world.  However, lifting someone on your own is not recommended. Do ask around about specialist equipment, such as a hoist, stand aid, transfer board or slide sheets.  At the risk of specialising in the blindingly obvious, you only have one back and you don’t want to be out of action.

And of course, do reach out to us for advice on practical help.

We’ve found this handy guide.  Have a look:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/practical-tips-if-you-care-for-someone/how-to-move-lift-and-handle-someone-else/

Back to Back

Did you know that back pain is the UK’s most common reason for absences from work? And that musculoskeletal disorders cost the NHS billions of pounds every year?

Most of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives.  Some will have just the odd day or two, but sadly, many people’s lives are ruined by chronic, permanent pain that only surgery can relieve.  And even then, there are risks involved.

Children Get Back Pain, Too

It’s not just adults.  Have you seen how heavy schoolbags are nowadays?  It’s estimated that two thirds of UK secondary school pupils have experienced back pain, with neck and shoulder pain also being an issue.

Look After Your Back

Do you take care of your back?  Try these top tips:

  • Stretching Exercises

Fire up YouTube and search for “exercises that prevent back pain”.  There are loads of excellent stretches to help you start (and end) the day with a focus on your wellbeing.

  • Sit Up Straight!

Get into the habit of correcting your posture when you’re sitting.  You’ll soon get into better habits without having to think about it.

  • Be Careful When Lifting

Bend your knees and keep your back straight.  This way, your leg muscles do most of the work, not your poor back.

  • Get moving

 Of course.  Walking is THE best all-round exercise, not least for your back.  Off you go and enjoy a walk in the Autumn sunshine!

So, there you go.

Avoid those “ouch” moments as much as you can with some good self-care.

And put yourself first.  Never forget that you matter, and that if you’re caring for someone, your health must come first.