Carers have a pretty tough time. That is not to downplay the difficulties experienced by those for whom they care; but in a way that can be part of the issue. Carers may feel guilt and/or resentment for wanting to attend to their own wants and needs, and often find that the physical and emotional exhaustion catches up with them.
This may manifest in feelings of malaise (generally feeling a bit unwell, but nothing specific) and tiredness; or more specific aches and pains, depending on the nature of the care given.
Even in itself, the high stress often engendered by a caring role can impact on health, especially combined with the loss of normal coping mechanisms, such as normal family relationships and friendships, hobbies, and other things you “don’t have time for any more”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common problem carers suffer from is back pain, often caused by improper lifting of the cared-for individual. This is closely followed by neck and shoulder/arm problems.
Of course, the exact nature of your caring-related problems will depend on what you have to do to help support your friend or family member.
Taking over the cleaning for an elderly relative whose knees or hips won’t let them scrub floors any more will tend to stress certain parts of the body; while dealing with the partially- or
This is part of the issue with caring; it can involve doing anything, and often these are activities they have physical difficulty performing. The trouble is, when you add them all to your existing day-to-day workload, they can end up causing issues. Even though individually each task may not be that onerous, they soon may feel like it!
The sheer stress and pressure of caring can cause us to hold a lot of tension in our upper back and neck, which may be associated with tension-type headaches.
While the nature of care provided will be unique to the individuals concerned, there are some things that will often hold true.
If we can help you stretch and mobilise the areas of your body that are not moving as well as they should; strengthen the supporting musculature; and teach you some strategies to help manage the physical stresses of caring; we can help support you through these trying times.
(1) Carer Recognition Act 2010 (Part 1, Section 5) https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2010A00123/Html/Text#_Toc276377310
(2) Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
(3) NHS England GP Patient Survey 2015
(4) Carers UK (2015) State of Caring 2015