If you have been suffering from constant back pain due to your job, you should be more conscious of maintaining a good posture to decrease your symptoms. There are several careers that can induce back-related problems. Some of these tasks include sitting at a desk for long periods each day, carrying heavy loads and maintaining bad posture during work. You can avoid back pain at work by improving your posture.
There are also many instances when back pain, due to performing tasks such as handling heavy boxes, can be avoided by simply using the correct lifting technique and posture to carry out your duties.
How to Avoid Back Pain at Work
Proper Posture Using a Computer
Working on a desk top computer all day is one of the main reasons that people in office environments experience back pain. This is mainly due to wrongly positioned screens that lead to the user slouching or stretching to comfortably see their work.
- Ensuring your monitor is positioned at eye level can help to avoid this type of back pain, as can a proper office chair that allows you to adjust the height and back rest to suit each individual, offering better support for your back and posture.
- Try to set things up at your workplace to encourage better posture by using certain tools such as lumbar support and wearing back support devices.
- Set your desk out so everything is within your reach, ensuring you won’t be over-stretching to answer the phone or reach your files.
When Carrying Heavy Load
Many people who suffer from spinal problems, such as slipped discs and lower back pain, work in occupations where they have to lift and carry heavy equipment and boxes. This type of work is very physically demanding, but there are ways you can continue to work without the risk of injury, such as ensuring you keep a straight posture and position.
To lessen the stress on your spinal cord:
- Keep your back straight and bend your knees to pick up items.
- Do not bend from the hip to reach things on the floor.
- Keep heavy boxes and equipment closer to your body as you carry them.
- Manual handling training is essential for this type of work, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure you have sufficient training to carry out your job safely.
- Use devices and tools that will reduce the strain you have to put on your back. Instead of bending down to lift heavy boxes and carrying them around, consider using a warehouse pallet jack, a rolling trolley, dollies and utility carts with casters. But again, ensure you are properly trained to use the equipment safely.
Working Behind A Counter
There are some people who need to stand or sit on a high chair all day for work. These include people who work in sales, retail and PR who spend hours at a time behind a desk or counter dealing with customers and clients, such as receptionists, cashiers or customer service personnel.
Standing all day or sitting in the same position for several hours can take its toll on your spine.
- You can ease your back problems by using shoes with a slight heel to support your feet and straighten your posture.
- You should also take regular breaks from standing or sitting.
Driving Long Distances
Driving may not seem like a strenuous occupation, but many people employed as drivers spend several hours each day sat in their vehicle, delivering goods and transporting people. These people are as much at risk of experiencing back pain as those employed in labor intensive jobs.
Many vehicle seats do not promote good posture and could lead to slouching which may lead to some spinal problems and abnormal curvature.
- Improve your posture to reduce the possibility of back aches by adjusting your lumbar support.
- If your vehicle is not equipped with an adjustable lumbar feature, consider using a special lumbar cushion or back rest and ensure you are positioned at the right distance from your pedals to allow comfortable use.
Other Ways To Avoid Back Pain at Work
Being conscious of maintaining better posture will go a long way in reducing your back issues. Slouching tends to exaggerate the curvature of the spine. If you regularly position yourself badly, through slouching, over stretching or leaning to one side, you will eventually experience back and neck pain, and could lead to long term injuries if not promptly correctly.
Work out and exercise to strengthen body parts responsible for creating better posture. Your abdominal muscles and back muscles play a big role in helping you maintain better posture with more ease.
Stronger abdominal muscles will take on some of the load you put on your back. This is very important when you need to a carry heavy load at work. Try to exercise all your areas of your body, including your arms and legs to lessen the strain on your back.
Another issue that can add to your back pains and worsen your posture is obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight lessens the stress to your spinal cord by reducing the amount of weight your back needs to support.
Focus on exercises that will help you lose weight and at the same time strengthens key muscles that will support your back and weight.
Written in cooperation with Health & Safety Training Ltd
Photo: Andreanna Moya Photography