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How Care Workers Can Have Happier Backs

By Krista Elliott

Remember all those Baby Boomers? Well, many are all grown up, retired, and have more than a few threads of silver in their hair. And as they get older, the need for care workers is increasing.

Whether we're talking about home care workers who help seniors with personal care tasks like bathing and foot care, or nursing home workers who assist patients with more serious physical and mental difficulties, there is absolutely no doubt that being a care worker is an emotionally and physically demanding job. 

Due to the nature of their work, care workers are at high risk for injuries. And the areas that are often most vulnerable? You guessed it: The back, neck, and shoulders are particularly at risk for subluxations and sprains.

But why is this? 

Why Care Workers' Backs are at Risk

Working in the field of patient care entails a lot of lifting, holding, carrying, twisting and turning, and pushing while transferring patients from their bed to the bathroom, or when they need to be turned or lifted while lying down. If working in a facility, these care workers spend a lot of hours on their feet, usually on linoleum-covered concrete floors.

The result? Strained muscles, subluxations in the spine and other joints, and a heaping helping of back pain. And that's not even taking into account what can happen if you slip on a wet floor or lose your footing while helping transfer a patient.

Personal care work is extremely hard, and the job description will likely never change. But in the meantime, here are some tips to help protect your spine and joints:

  • Bend at the knees when lifting. Also try to limit the amount of twisting and turning you do.
  • Get help from a co-worker or two when needed.
  • Use medical aids such as patient lifts, wheel-chairs, or mobility transfers.
  • Wear supportive, non-slip footwear.
  • Consider doing some stretching before and after your shift. 
  • Make exercise a part of your daily routine. This will keep your muscles strong and joints flexible. 
  • Pencil yourself in for some regular "me time." Stress isn't good for you mentally or physically.
  • Make time for routine chiropractic treatment to keep your joints in the best alignment possible, which will improve your balance and make you more resistant to injury.

If you do end up injuring yourself at work, you should visit your chiropractic doctor at The Joint Chiropractic right away. The gentle and precise adjustments you get at The Joint may reduce pain and improve flexibility in your spine or in any of your joints — no appointment needed! So take care of you, and come by The Joint today. 

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