Sometimes the struggles of a caregiver can be overwhelming. Coping with chronic back pain isn’t a welcome addition to the day-to-day concerns of the family caregiver. However, the majority of caregivers are over 50 and back pain, especially in women, is a common source of pain.
One leading cause of back pain in women, is osteoporosis or “brittle bone”. Osteoporosis affects more than 10 million Americans and half of all women over 50 will suffer a broken bone due to osteoporosis. Men suffer from osteoporosis bone breaks, but at a lesser rate of one in 4.
Noted risk factors for developing osteop0rosis include age, family history, lifestyle and a petite frame.
However, following a few good habits — habits that are good for everyone — can help decrease the risk of osteoporosis and accompanying back pain:
- Women age 50 or older, should follow the recommendation of at least 800-1000 IU of Vitamin D and 1200 mg of calcium daily.
- A balanced diet of fruits and vegetables that are rich in magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin K will help bones.
- Protein as prescribed by your doctor based on your lifestyle, diet and weight.
- Limit alcohol because excess consumption decreases bone formation.
- Participate in weight-bearing exercises.
- Don’t smoke — for so many reasons. However, smoking decreases the body’s absorption of bone-building calcium.
Although back pain is one of the main causes of chronic pain in seniors, a combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy, psychological therapy, and pain management through proper medication can show positive results in back pain management, according to the National Institute of Health.
Family caregivers handle enough extra stresses of the day, coping with their own back pain shouldn’t be one of their concerns when caring for aging parents or other loved ones.