Back Week 2002

Back Week 2002

Caregivers avoid back pain

Keep your eyes peeled for the PhysioFriends, our real-life pals. They`ll be visiting your neighbourhood soon to help get the message of BackWeek 2002 across

should care for themselves! PhysioFriends will be helping physiotherapists to tell moms, nurses and others who care for people how to prevent back strain and injury.

Caring for the Caregivers

Every year, during Back Week, the physiotherapists of South Africa try to help our citizens learn to have healthy backs, so they can move more freely and live better, healthier lives. This year, our aim is to help people who care for others, often at the risk of their backs - nurses, nurse aides, mothers and anyone who spends a lot of time caring for sick people, whether the patients are adults or children. Backs take terrible strain when you try to lift or turn someone who is bedridden; bending over beds constantly causes back pain too.

Some of the messages physios will be conveying include:

  • How to raise a fairly helpless patient to a seated position from a lying-down position. This is a classic situation which causes back strain, if you go about it the wrong way.
  • Lifting a patient out of a wheelchair
  • Lifting a baby - the right way
  • Rolling a patient over in bed
  • Standing during pregnancy

Physios will also be telling people how to exercise to prevent pain even before it starts:

Exercises for your back

For a healthy and pain-free back, you should really pause regularly throughout the day and do a few stretches and rotations: Start by making sure your posture is correct: visualise yourself as a puppet being suspended from a string that`s attached to the top of your head - the string would keep your chin tucked in, and your ears, shoulders and hips would fall into a straight line, wouldn`t they? That`s a comfortable position for your back.

Now stretch your back by standing up, putting your hands in the back of the waist. Stretch your body up to reach the ceiling and bend a little backwards. Hold for three seconds - one Zambezi two Zambezi three Zambezi - and relax.

Now turn your head and shoulders together to look behind you, holding on to the back of your chair so you can turn as far as you can go. Repeat turning the opposite way.

Whatever you do, try to keep your back as straight as possible, dangling on that imaginary string. Remember to use the power of your leg and tummy muscles to lift. And try to get some rest off and on during the day!

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