Tips for Avoiding Back Problems at Work
Millions of people suffer from back problems each year. In fact, according to research, it is estimated a whopping 80 percent of people have to deal with this type of pain at some point during their lives, whether it occurs as a sudden, sharp pain; a constant, dull ache; or as a chronic condition that lasts for three months or more. Back pain can affect people of both sexes, of all ages, and can be triggered by numerous things. And back problems at work can cripple productivity.
Considering that we need good back health to get through our daily lives, and to achieve our career goals, it’s important to do everything you can to stay in tip-top shape. Read on for some ways you can care for your back, stay safe at work and elsewhere, and avoid having this type of pain affect your life.
Take Regular Breaks, Use Ergonomic Equipment, and Maintain Good Posture
When you’re busy working (likely sitting at a desk) it’s easy for the time to just slip away and for it to be hours before you lift your head. However, if you want to keep your back in good order, it is necessary to take regular breaks.
This doesn’t just mean taking a few seconds to grab a drink or go to the bathroom, but rather to properly move about and stretch. Sitting for long periods of time without taking breaks is a common cause of back strain, and is an even bigger issue if you, like most other people, have poor posture as you’re sitting there.
Taking breaks to go for a walk, do yoga, climb stairs, hit the gym, perform lunges or otherwise get active helps to combat the fact that you’re probably slouching at your desk and looking down, with your neck and chin jutted outwards, at a computer screen for hours on end.
It pays to get some training to ensure you’re using proper posture at work and at home, or you can partake of exercises you find online or which are given to you by an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor, yoga instructor or the like. For specialized assistance, consult professionals such as those at this Pennsylvania pain management clinic for qualified therapists who regularly help people deal with, and avoid, back pain.
In addition, improve your back health by always using ergonomic equipment at work. This includes having a desk and chair that are the right height for you; using a supportive mouse pad; choosing a standing desk where possible; and so on.
Be Careful When Bending and Lifting
Next, whether it comes to your office space and general home life, take care when bending and lifting. Thousands of people hurt their backs each year because they have bent in a strange way, twisted to move awkward things, or lifted heavy or bulky items by themselves when they shouldn’t have. You need to learn proper lifting techniques that involve pressing from your legs and using their strength, rather than your back, to take weight.
When moving groceries between your car and the house, or when moving boxes and other items around your office, use trolleys or the assistance of another person, or simply divide items into smaller/lighter weights. Keep in mind that, if you have children, carrying them around on your hips, shoulders, or back can also put a lot of stress on your muscles and joints and put things out of alignment too.
When it comes to moving things, remember that pushing tends to be easier than pulling for your body, so look for ways to adjust techniques appropriately. Plus, be careful when you have to access items in cramped or hard to reach places, even if they’re light – bending unnaturally can put your back out. Furthermore, don’t try to reach up on tippy toes for goods which have been stored above shoulder level. Instead, stand on a stable surface, such as a ladder or sturdy stool.
Keep Work Spaces Safer
Lastly, follow key steps to keep your work spaces safer in other ways. For instance, mop up spills and otherwise wet or sticky surfaces ASAP so you don’t fall and slip. Keep areas free from the clutter which can cause you to trip over and hurt yourself. For example, stow away things like boxes, piles of books, pet and children’s toys if relevant, and more.
You should also be wary of how you store heavy items, so that nothing heavy falls on you from above and causes you to injure your back. Work at heights safely too, by wearing protective gear, ensuring ladders and platforms are secure, and avoiding standing and working at height for long periods of time.