Around one in five people have chronic pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Low back pain is among the most common types of pain. If pain lasts three months or more, it is classified as chronic pain.
Chronic back pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:
- Spinal Stenosis
- Disc problems (herniated or bulging)
- Myofascial pain syndrome
People with chronic back pain face both physical and emotional challenges that are often life-altering. For some people, this pain comes and goes, leading to frustration. When a loved one is living with back pain, caregivers play a crucial role in reducing a patient’s pain levels, managing their pain, and improving their overall quality of life.
The following nine tips will help you provide better care to your loved one with chronic back pain.
1 | Provide Education
Success depends on education. Educate your loved one with back pain about their condition and their treatment. By being a source of information, you will help the patient improve and manage their pain.
2 | Listen to them
Even though it may seem obvious, you should always listen to what the patient is experiencing. As a result of their back pain, the patient may also be experiencing mental health issues, such as depression. Provide a judgment-free environment where the patient can freely express his or her feelings. In return, be compassionate and supportive.
3 | Encourage Movement
Active lifestyles are essential to prevent the problem from worsening and assist with the rehabilitation process. Physical therapy should be prescribed to the patient. They should be encouraged to follow the advice of their healthcare team. Doing the exercises with them and being their rehab buddy is one way to encourage them.
4 | Good Mechanics
Help patients learn how to pace themselves by making sure they know their limits. Additionally, teach them, good body mechanics, such as bending and lifting correctly, to prevent further injury. Additionally, promote wearing supportive shoes to patients with back pain to avoid further injury.
5 | Meds and Food
In addition to reducing pain, medications can also aid in better movement. Encourage your patients to take their medications as prescribed. Please encourage them to eat healthy foods. In research studies, eating a lot of veggies, fruits, whole grains, high-quality protein, and healthy fats has been shown to reduce pain. This is because our tissues heal and repair themselves by absorbing nutrients from foods that are dense in nutrients. Promote a healthy, well-rounded diet and discourage the consumption of alcohol and sugar, which are inflammatory.
6 | Make Modifications
Our daily routines require us to bend, lift and stretch. Make modifications to the patient’s home to minimize additional strain, such as:
- Keeping frequently used items within easy reach (chest height)
- Make sure the furniture is back-friendly
- Support the lower back with lumbar pillows or other pillows to keep your posture in good shape while you sit
7 | Logging Pain Symptoms
A pain management log can be helpful to the medical team in improving the treatment plan. Have the patient maintain the log. Include the following information:
- Take note of any possible triggers for pain or activities
- as well as how long the pain lasted
- The severity of the pain
- and any other details that can help the medical team and patient better understand the pain
8 | Address Other Conditions
Address other health conditions that may worsen the patient’s pain. For example, Fibromyalgia can cause any discomfort a patient feels to increase, so taking medications to treat Fibromyalgia can reduce back pain. Anxiety and depression are also shown to reduce pain. Medication, counseling, and relaxation techniques treat anxiety and depression.
9 | Better Sleep
A lack of sleep can also worsen the pain. Practice good sleep hygiene with your loved one, including creating a calming nighttime routine and avoiding distractions half an hour before and during bedtime (such as cell phones). Relaxation techniques can also prepare a good night’s sleep. Over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids may be prescribed to patients who need them.
Helping loved ones with chronic back pain requires the involvement of the Care team. Don’t go at it alone. By addressing pain and managing it through various methods, patients suffering from chronic back pain can lessen their suffering and lead a more fulfilling life. The Care team at Myessence home care has a team of professional caregivers that can assist with your home care needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.