Lifting weights, repetitive movements, and working at a desk all day can take a toll on your back. Learn about back pain that can be caused by a tiring job and how to prevent it.
From Myoyou Medical International staff
Whether dull or tingling, back pain can make it difficult to concentrate on work. Unfortunately, many occupational jobs (such as nursing, construction, and factory work) use the back heavily. Even routine office work can cause or exacerbate back pain. Learn what causes back pain at work and what you can do to prevent it.
Common causes of back pain at work
Many factors can contribute to back pain at work. E.g:
Use force. Excessive force on the back, such as lifting or moving heavy objects, can cause injury.
repeat. Repeating certain movements, especially those that require twisting or rotating the spine, can injure your back.
Inactive. Inactivity at work or working at a desk can lead to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit in a chair without adequate back support all day.
Back Pain and Lifestyle Factors
Of course, factors like aging, obesity, and poor physical condition can also contribute to back pain. While you can't control your age, you can take care of maintaining a healthy weight, which can reduce the strain on your back.
Start with a healthy diet. Make sure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients help prevent osteoporosis, which causes bones to lose strength and become brittle, which can lead to fractures that can lead to grief.
Combine aerobic exercises like swimming or walking with exercises that strengthen and stretch your back and abs. Exercises that increase balance and strength can also reduce the risk of falls and back injuries. Consider tai chi, yoga, and weight-bearing exercises, all of which challenge your balance.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that most healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week (preferably spread out over the week) and strength training at least twice a week.
If you smoke, quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower part of the spine, which can lead to disc degeneration and slow healing of back injuries. Coughing caused by smoking can also cause back pain.
Prevent back pain at work
There are steps you can take to avoid and prevent back pain and injuries at work. E.g:
Pay attention to your posture. When standing, distribute your weight on your feet. Don't be listless. To improve your sitting posture, choose a chair that supports the curve of your spine. Adjust the height of the chair so your feet are flat on the floor or footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. When sitting, take your wallet or phone out of your back pocket to avoid putting extra pressure on your hips or lower back. If you are unknowingly ignoring your posture problems, you can try wearing a posture corrector.
Lift correctly. When lifting and carrying heavy objects, lift with your leg muscles and engage your core muscles. Bring objects close to the body. Keep your back naturally curved. Do not twist when lifting objects. If the item is too heavy to lift safely, get someone to help you.
Adjust repetitive tasks. Use a lift (if available) to help you lift heavy objects. Try alternating between physically demanding tasks and less physically demanding tasks. If you work in front of a computer, make sure the computer, keyboard, mouse, and chair are positioned correctly. If you frequently type or write while on the phone, use the speakerphone or headset to talk. Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting, and reaching. Limit the time you carry heavy briefcases, purses and bags.
Listen to your body's needs. If you have to sit for long periods of time, remember to change positions frequently. Walk regularly and gently stretch your muscles to relieve tightness.
Back pain can interfere with both your work and recreational activities. However, you are not bound by it. Review your work environment and address conditions that may exacerbate back pain. Even simple steps to relieve back pain can work.
If you are unable to consciously improve your posture and work habits, you can try wearing a posture corrector.