Back pain, who needs it? Who wants it? No one does, but back pain is a common problem and has become one of the main causes of lost work days. It doesn't discriminate against certain workers, either. Nurses and paramedics may experience it when awkwardly lifting patients. Industrial workers hurt their backs when lifting heavy loads or by slipping and falling. And office workers often suffer lower back pain after spending long hours sitting in front of a computer most of the day.
Some may think that back pain is caused by a single action such as suddenly stepping or lifting something the wrong way. Actually, back pain typically comes as a result of years of activities such as awkward posture, twisting, repetitive tasks, straining, standing too much and even sitting down too much.
Proper lifting, stretching and exercising
There are many things you can do to avoid the chances of injuring your back at work. Here are some of them:
- Avoid lifting heavy objects, but sometimes this can't be helped. If you have to lift something off the ground, rely on your leg strength and bend your knees. Don't bend forward while lifting something. Better yet, rely on workplace handling devices such as carts and dollies.
- Daily stretching exercises can help strengthen your back. Consult your doctor or a chiropractor to assemble a variety of stretches that will help. A regime as short as 15 minutes per day will go a long way for back health.
- Exercise regularly. Muscles are often the source of back pain. Keep them strong. Exercising also will help you stay in good condition and lose weight. Obesity can put great stress on your back.
- Make sure to wear proper footwear that will minimize any chances of slipping and falling.
- A special note for office workers: Sitting down on the job too much can lead to herniated discs. Reduce your sitting time by regularly getting out of your chair and taking breaks. For example, drinking lots of water will force you to get up more often to use the bathroom. Go for a short walk. Also, a standing work station can help people avoid back pain.
Back problems can be avoided. A healthy work lifestyle can help minimize back pain for the rest of your life.