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Look after yourself - look after your Back

Updated: May 30

As a Carer, you may need to move or assist the person you care for in a way that places strain on your back, joints and muscles. If you hurt yourself, it be difficult to stop doing the movement that caused the problem in the first place, increasing the impact on your health and wellbeing, and you may not have time to rest and heal. All of this can have a negative impact on your role as a Carer.

Here are some ways you can help look after yourself:

Get advice - Make sure you know the safest way to help someone in a way that prevent injury to yourself and the person you care for. Even small changes, such as the way you stand when helping, can make a big difference. With the right equipment and advice, the need for lifting can often be avoided. You may also be able to help the person you care for to adjust their own position - which is better for everyone.

NHS Direct (tel 0300 1231053 or see provides free information to help Carers look after their own health. Click here for their information on lifting and moving.

BackCare UK has produced a booklet and DVD for anyone who cares for a relative or friend with restricted mobility. The Carer’s Guide for safer moving and handling of people booklet plus DVD costs £4.95 plus £2.35 postage which you can order from the BackCare website, call 020 8977 5474 or email.

Marie Curie offers advice in managing practical caring tasks.

If you already have back pain, please don’t forget to speak to your GP for help.

Get the right Equipment - There is information on the Sutton Council website about local suppliers of equipment.

Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) is a national charity providing impartial advice on equipment for independent living. See their website or call 0300 999 0004 Monday- Friday, 10am – 4pm.

Carers UK have a 'room by room' guide to equipment, aids and home adaptations.

Sutton ShopAbility based in the Nicholas Centre offer advice, equipment to hire, information and repairs.

The Mobility Centre in Wallington sells mobility equipment, 020 8647 9596.

QEF Mobility Services based in Carshalton, provides a wide range of mobility advice and offers equipment hire. View their website, call 0208 770 1151 or email

Occupational Therapy (OT) Support - To apply for OT support for the person you care for, call Sutton Adult Social Services on 020 8770 5000 (Option 3) and ask for an OT assessment click to email (, or for children’s referrals email (

There may be a waiting list for OT services, so be as specific as you can in order to be directed to the correct team, e.g. be really clear and tell the Duty Officer if you have difficulty when helping the person to move and you are concerned that it may not be safe for either of you.

If you have seen an Occupational Therapist in the past, don’t worry about asking for another appointment. Many conditions change over time and OTs expect that people will need to try different aids or adaptations.

The Council may be able to provide or loan free equipment to help you with moving or handling the person you care for, for example, sliders, special beds or even hoists. This applies even if the person you care for has been assessed as needing to pay for their own care. Some equipment or home adaptations do need to be paid for, but always tell the Council if your caring role involves moving and handling, for example if you are struggling to help someone out of bed.

Carer’s Assessment - If you have not done so already, we always advise Carers to contact Sutton Council Social Services to ask for a Carer’s Assessment. This looks at what your caring role involves (including lifting and moving) and will assess how best to help you do this. You can refer yourself by calling LBS on 020 8770 5000, then selecting Option 3, followed by Option 1.

Sutton Carers Centre - That's us! For help with applying for a Carers Assessment, or any other information and advice around your caring role, or if you are interested in a Moving and Handling Workshop?

Get in touch: Phone 0208 296 561, email or drop in to see us at Sutton Carers Centre, 12–14 Benhill Avenue, Sutton SM1 4DA.

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