Is your job damaging your back? Many forms of chronic pain are often developed at work. Usually, such injuries can be avoided by adopting new habits. Below are just five of the most common work-related causes of back pain and how to prevent them.
An unergonomic desk
Sitting at a desk that’s too low or not positioned directly in front of you could result in back pain. In fact, it’s one of the most common causes of lower back pain. By switching to ergonomic office desks, you may be able to prevent back problems – such desks are often height adjustable allowing you to position them at a level that’s right for you. Ideally your elbows should be level with the desk as you type, while the top of your computer monitor should be level with your eyes.
Incorrect lifting technique
A lot of people develop very painful back injuries by lifting heavy weights incorrectly. Construction and warehouse work are two industries where this is very common. Never bend at the waist when lifting heavy objects – always bend your legs and keep your back straight. Know when an object is too heavy to lift and when you’re likely to need help or a trolley/lift.
Too much twisting
If you’re constantly twisting your body, you could also be at risk of damaging your spine. If you work at a supermarket checkout or as a bus driver, you may constantly find yourself twisting your body when interacting with customers. Try to revolve your whole body and not just twist at the waist – your employer should provide you with a chair that allows you to do this. Certain manual labour jobs may also cause you to adopt unusual twisting emotions, so you should be careful in these trades too.
Carrying a bag on one shoulder
When commuting to work, be wary of carrying a heavy bag solely on one shoulder. The strain on a single shoulder could cause you to gain muscle on one side of your body over time and could throw your whole body out of balance. This can then lead to back pain as your spine tries to compensate. Making an effort to periodically switch shoulders with your bag can prevent this – you’ll be passing the weight from shoulder to shoulder and building muscle equally across either side of your body.
Wearing impractical footwear
If you’re constantly on your feet at work, wearing the right footwear could be essential. Ideally, you want to be wearing flats. Shoes with raised heels can put pressure on the ankles, the hips and the lower back. By constantly wearing such shoes to work, you could be making back pain worse. Flat shoes will put less strain on all your joints. Shoes with sneaker soles may be recommended in industries such as nursing in which you’re likely to be on your feet for very long hours. Try to doing your research to find out what the best footwear is for your profession.