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.
In addition to great patience and dedication, being a caregiver takes physical skill. If you are a family caregiver, you were probably never trained to do tasks such as lifting someone from a wheelchair into a car, dressing and bathing someone, or positioning someone in a bed. All of these tasks are physically demanding. They require you to bend, lean, and use muscles you may not be used to using.
To avoid back injury, strained muscles, and other problems, you must perform physical tasks in the correct fashion, using the proper technique. It is important to have a trained professional such as a physical or occupational therapist teach you how to perform these tasks safely.
Also, it is your responsibility to keep the house physically safe for you and your loved one, to prevent slips, bumps, and accidents that can happen when people are infirm or elderly.
At times, you may have to transfer your loved one from a bed to a chair or from a wheelchair into a car or from a toilet seat to a standing/walking position.
The following steps are general guidelines to protect your back when you must perform any type of lift or transfer:
If you have any doubt at all about your ability to perform a lift on your own, get help.
When moving a heavy object, it is better to push or to pull than to lift, whenever possible.
If your loved one cannot move independently in bed, you may need to reposition them periodically to prevent bed sores from forming and to help them feel comfortable.
To move a person from their back to a side lying position, stand by the side of the bed and take hold of the draw sheet on the opposite side from where you are standing. (A draw sheet is a flat sheet, usually folded in half, placed on top of the linens so that someone is lying on top of the draw sheet.) Pull on the sheet to gently roll your loved one onto their side. Hold them in position with one hand and place a pillow behind their back with your other hand. For comfort, place a pillow between their knees. You might also put a pillow beneath their upper arm and place a call button or a bell within their reach.
To move someone back into a lying position, perform this process in reverse.
Have a nurse or other professional show you how to perform bed positioning at first.
Manual lifting and transferring, even if done properly, are physically taxing over time. Therefore, assistive devices are highly recommended for the safety of both you and your loved one. These devices include:
Talk to your health care providers about assistive devices. Have a physical therapist or other qualified person show you how to use them properly.
Simple precautions can keep the home environment safe for your loved one and for you. Practical home safety measures include:
Depending on your loved one's disability, mental faculties, and level of independence, it may also be helpful to:
One of the main causes of injury in people age 65 and older is falls. People with certain illnesses like osteoporosis or people who have had a stroke are more at risk for falls. You can help your loved one avoid falls, and avoid them yourself, by taking the following safety measures:
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.