Are you having back pain with any of the following?
We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.
Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.
Being a caregiver is a very special role with its own health challenges for the person providing care. We offer tips and strategies so that you can do this important job while protecting your health and well being.
Being a caregiver to a disabled adult child or an elderly parent is a great service, best performed out of love. Caregiving, willingly accepted, will have its rewards, but it is a very demanding job. If you are someone's full-time caregiver, you will probably have less time to devote to your family, your career, and other pursuits.
The physical, mental, and emotional challenges of caregiving can give rise to many uncomfortable feelings, including:
Though you should not let feelings such as anger and resentment (much less violent urges) dictate how you act, you should allow yourself to have these feelings without judging yourself for them. All these feelings are natural. Support is available to help you understand your feelings.
Caregiving can be exhausting and all-consuming. Burnout is a real hazard. Therefore, good self-care and coping skills are essential. Your own well-being is extremely important – not only for yourself and your family, but also for the person you are caring for.
Clear communication between yourself and the person you are caring for will make life easier, more pleasant, and less stressful for both of you.
Even if you have known someone for years, and you have been used to communicating with the person, the fact that you are now the caretaker places new demands on both of you. Therefore, it is important to be deliberate and thoughtful in establishing good communication habits.
If you're feeling tense, breathe deeply a few times and calm yourself before beginning a conversation. If you are calm and collected, this will have a relaxing effect on the other person, too. Remember to keep breathing deeply as you converse.
Be at eye level with the person, rather than standing above them. If they are sitting, sit next to them. Look them in the eye. Make sure they have their hearing aids and/or glasses on.
When conversing, minimize or eliminate background distractions, such as television noise.
When conversing, give the person your full attention. Don't try to wash dishes or fold laundry while you talk. It may also be helpful to speak in short, simple sentences.
Ask questions one at a time. Listen closely to the answers. Allow the person time to think and respond. Allow silences to stretch for some moments. Sometimes, a person receiving care may be hesitant to express their fears and discomforts. Patient, attentive listening can help someone feel safer saying what they're really thinking and feeling.
Speak at a slow pace, but do not talk to your loved one in a condescending way. When addressing a third person in the room, never talk about the person you're caring for as if they're not there or as if they can't hear or understand you (even if you think they really can't).
Pay close attention to the person's body language. Do they look relaxed? Anxious? Listen to their tone of voice, too, for a sense of how they are feeling.
When appropriate, physical touch can help to reassure your loved one. A simple gesture such as touching the person's shoulder or placing your hand on their hand can be more effective than words. Smiling is also helpful.
Being dependent on someone and constantly requiring their help can cause a person to feel irritable and even resentful. If the person you are caring for acts grouchy and unreasonable, try not let yourself be drawn into an argument.
At times this can be difficult, especially if the person is someone who knows you well, such as a parent. Still, it is up to you, the caretaker, to maintain a civil and respectful tone. Also, keep in mind that beneath their words the person you are caring for is probably frightened and sad about having to be dependent.
Use humor to help relieve tension. Remind your loved one of fond, familiar people and events. Draw attention to sentimental objects and photographs. Put on music to help lighten the mood. If your loved one is upset, try to distract them from what's bothering them by directing their attention elsewhere.
Be creative and flexible and patient with yourself. Do not expect yourself to be perfect and do not blame yourself when communication problems arise. Take guilt-free time for yourself. Enjoy a break from caregiving tasks.
As a caregiver, you are inevitably going to need help. You cannot do everything yourself.
Your main sources of help will be other family members and outside services.
You can ask other family members and close friends to help out in 3 ways:
A range of elder care and respite care services are available in most communities. Talk to your loved one's health care providers and social workers and/or ask friends, family, and colleagues for referrals. Senior centers, too, can help steer you in the right direction, or you can check with your local Agency on Aging or chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). There are many options, including the following:
In some cases, your loved one's insurance or medical plan may cover all or part of the costs of adult daycare and respite home services. In addition, the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Older Americans Act help fund respite care and other services for families in need. Some agencies and community groups provide volunteer help as well. Local support groups may also be available.
As a caregiver, it is easy to lose yourself in the demands of your job and neglect your own needs. But if you fail to care for yourself, the burden of caring for someone else can lead to burnout.
Signs of burnout include:
The following steps are all essential for preventing burnout:
Maintaining your emotional health is as important as keeping physically healthy. Caregivers are at an increased risk for depression and other emotional problems.
The first step in staying emotionally healthy is to acknowledge negative feelings when they arise and never to judge yourself, even for the "worst" types of feelings, such as rage and resentment.
It is also essential that you have someone to talk with, whether it is a psychotherapist, a grief counselor, or a trusted close friend or family member.
Caring for someone else can be stressful. Consider what has helped you through stressful situations in the past. Create time to take care of yourself and reduce your own stress level by doing the following:
Everyone has difficult feelings from time to time. Depression, however, is a serious condition of ongoing emotional pain or numbness.
If you are a caregiver, there may be no other person observing you each day to make sure that you are okay. Therefore, you need to observe yourself. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be clinically depressed:
Seek professional help
Develop and maintain healthy lifestyle habits
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.
This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.