Monday, September 26, 2011

'Oh, My Aching Back!'

One of the most common physical complaints among adult caregivers is a back ache, especially if a disabled loved one requires assistance moving from one spot to another. Today’s health tips focus on tips for back care so you can stay strong, for you and for those who depend on you.

Know Your Limits. Do not lift objects – including people – without help if that thing or person is too heavy.

Lift with Care. Keep feet apart for balance, bend your knees to lower yourself and life close to your body. Do not use your back to do the lifting. It’s all in the legs. Also, never pivot – face forward at all times when you are lifting and carrying.

Stay Balanced. A strong back starts with strong stomach muscles. Incorporate core-strengthening exercises, such as Pilates, into your daily routine. If your stomach and back are really weak, consider a back brace until you can strengthen both.

Sleep Firmly. Makes sure you sleep on a firm mattress, and that you do not sleep on your stomach.

Sit Down. Your knees should be higher than your hips when you sit in a car. For additional support, you can use a small pillow or rolled towel.

Stretch Regularly. Stretching key muscle groups helps increase your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.

Wear Proper Shoes. No high heels. No shoes with flimsy soles (like some flip flops). Focus on comfort and support, even if the pair cost a few more pennies.

Control Your Weight. Goes without saying that being overweight puts additional stress on the lower back.

Maintain Good Posture. As we age, it becomes harder to maintain good posture. Make a point to suck in that stomach and sit or stand tall with properly alighted shoulders and hips.

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