The national back pain charity BackCare is working to help the UK carers with this year’s BackCare Awareness Week (7-11th October 2013).

The theme of this year's campaign is ‘Caring for Carers’. Over 70% of the UK’s unpaid carers now suffer from back pain, and are a greater risk of developing chronic pain, which is highly disabling in a third of cases and life-long for the majority.

To start the week, BackCare will be running a radio day of live interviews to reach 4,000,000 listeners through regional and national stations.

BackCare will also be distributing a campaign pack featuring educational and awareness materials. BackCare members will be running local events up and down the country in clinics and community centres during the week.

Golden rules for carers

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has developed a set of simple tips for carers to remember when helping others:

  • Think ahead: assess each situation and look for the best and easiest way to achieve the desired result, this may mean using any available equipment whether it be for specialist lifting or a simple sack barrow for moving boxes of supplies
  • Follow the weight: always try and face the direction in which you want to carry any weight - your body is strongest when you are square on to the weight
  • Take care when lifting: never lift while twisting from the waist.  Bend your knees, try to have a relaxed, straight back and if possible, brace your abdominal muscles. For added stability make sure that your feet are about a shoulder width or more apart before lifting 
  • Ask for training: whether you are caring in a formal setting or helping someone at home, make sure you have been properly trained in how to use any equipment
  • Supportive shoes are essential: wear good, soft-soled shoes that are supportive and have a good grip on the groundTake regular breaks: if doing a repetitive task, take a break every 20 minutes and do some simple stretches to relax your muscles.

The BCA has also developed a simple programme of exercises, Straighten Up UK, to help people get more active, as well as preventing back pain in both adults and children.