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Tips for Preventing Back Pain When Caring for a Parent

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Caregiving can be physically challenging, and some tasks you perform may raise the risk for back pain. If you’re in pain, you may be unable to assist your loved one with the activities of daily living. Fortunately, you can take the following steps to prevent back pain while caregiving.

Do Some Stretching

Stretching can reduce your risk of strains, sprains, and back pain. By stretching, you can limber up your muscles, increase your range of motion, strengthen the surrounding structures of your spine, and reduce the risk for injury. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Fort Myers Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Eat More Seafood

Freshwater fish such as salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory substances. Omega-3 fatty acids are also thought to possess pain relieving properties, so if you do injure your back while caregiving, your discomfort may only last for a short time. If you prefer not to consume fish, consider taking fish oil supplements. Before you start fish oil supplements, talk to your physician. Taking supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids often intensifies the effects of prescription anticoagulants or aspirin, which may raise the risk for abnormal bleeding. 

In Fort Myers, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.

Add Some Magnesium-Rich Foods to the Diet

Eating nuts, bananas, avocados, and other foods rich in magnesium is a good way to prevent back pain. Magnesium relaxes muscle tissue and relieves stress and anxiety, which are back pain risk factors. If you prefer, you can take magnesium supplements to get your recommended daily allowance instead of eating magnesium-rich foods. However, magnesium supplements can intensify the effect of blood thinning medication and cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea. In addition to interacting with blood thinners, magnesium supplements may also interact with cardiovascular medications known as beta blockers. If magnesium and beta blockers are taken together, a cardiac arrhythmia may develop. It’s best to talk to a doctor before taking any supplements.

Maintain Proper Body Mechanics

Caregiving often involves heavy lifting, and if done without using proper body mechanics, you may hurt your back. When lifting, remember to bend at your knees, not at your waist. Also, make sure your pelvis, neck, feet, and back are all in alignment when you move, twist, or turn. If you need more training in maintaining proper body mechanics, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. The doctor can show you the correct technique or suggest working with a physical therapist.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Fort Myers, FL, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your elderly parent, give us a call at 239.449.4701 today.