Heat is considered a very good therapy for pain and swelling, especially back pain. A hot bath or shower is a good way of relieving those aches without much effort. However, a lot of activities, especially bathing or showering are difficult to accomplish when you have chronic back pain. For some, pain is not severe enough to prevent them from bathing, while others require the assistance of a loved one or caregiver. The following tips can make bath time easier and safer:
- Showering: Standing to shower can be difficult, but a few modifications in your bathroom can make it easier:
- Supporting bar: Holding a bar while showering takes some of the load off the back while helping you maintain your balance.
- Slip-resistant flooring/mats: This can prevent falls for those who are unsteady.
- Shower chair: If you cannot tolerate standing, a shower chair may be useful.
- Handheld showers: They improve access and are particularly useful when you are sitting.
Bathing in a tub is ideal for those who cannot use a shower, but are able to walk to the bathroom. The tub height should be low and easy to get into. If you are assisting a loved one with transfers, make sure your bodies are close together and your trunk firmly against the patient’s shoulder. This will provide adequate support and protect your back as well.
Sometimes pain is so severe that a caregiver or loved one will have to bathe the patient in bed. You must be careful while adjusting the patient to wash different body parts. Logrolling, or moving the body as one unit, is recommended to avoid injury and pain.
While chronic pain can take a toll on you and your loved ones, tips such as these may help ease the burden.