One of the most common complaints or issues we see at AIDPPT is Low Back issues. Back pain is one of the major factors in reduced productivity in the workplace! It is not just because of people calling in sick but when you are suffering, regardless if the pain is sharp or a dull ache; you are unable to concentrate on the job/task at hand.
Your first thought, considering the area we live in and the number of lawyers, techies and paper pushers among us, would be that routinely sitting at a desk and working on a computer can cause or worsen back pain. However, there are many other jobs like nursing, construction, and manual laborers that undergo additional strain from repetitive motion, lifting or standing on hard surfaces.
A number of factors can contribute to back pain at work. For example:
- Force. Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
- Repetition. Repeating certain movements, especially those that involve twisting or rotating your spine, can injure your back.
- Inactivity. An inactive job or a desk job can contribute to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in a chair with inadequate back support.
Back pain and lifestyle factors
Of course, factors such as aging, obesity and poor physical condition also can contribute to back pain. While you can’t control your age, you can focus on maintaining a healthy weight, which minimizes stress on your back.
Start by eating a healthy diet. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle and is responsible for many of the bone fractures that lead to back pain.
Combine aerobic exercise, such as swimming or walking, with exercises that strengthen and stretch your back muscles and abdomen. Exercises that increase your balance and strength can also decrease your risk of falling and injuring your back. Consider tai chi, yoga and weight-bearing exercises that challenge your balance.
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week.
Also, if you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces blood flow to your lower spine, which can contribute to spinal disc degeneration and slow healing from back injuries. Coughing associated with smoking can also cause back pain.
Tip 1. Get off your butt once in a while…
In today’s tech savvy world we sit way more than the human body was intended to. We sit at work, we sit in the car, we sit to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner .. bottom line we sit a lot. Why can sitting for too many hours be so bad? Here are just a few reasons: cutting off circulation throughout the body, causing damage to the spinal structures and realigning pelvis by causing hip flexor tightness and gluteal weakness.
Tip 2: Choose your shoes wisely…
If you have not already heard wearing shoes with a large heel can and will contribute to lower back pain. Wearing heels ultimately leads to an anterior pelvic tilt and excessive lordosis [an inward curve] of the lower back causing back pain. An anterior pelvic tilt is a combination of many factors however it is characterized by the front of the pelvis tilting downwards towards the floor. Muscular alterations occur resulting in tightness of the hip flexors and quads.
Tip 3: Lift from your legs…
Do you know the proper way of lifting a heavy object without straining your back? Here are the basic Do’s and Don’ts: make sure to bend the knees when lifting items from the floor, keep the object close to your torso throughout the lift, and push through the heels when standing. Do not lift and twist the trunk, Do not lift using only your back, Do not lift if pushing or pulling the object is an option.
Tip 4: Spin and pivot so you don’t twist and shout…
Whether you have a desk job, a manufacturing job or work in the kitchen do you often find yourself reaching behind you to grab something your need? One of the greatest inventions of the previous century is chairs that spin; but we often never use this feature. We choose to reach behind us to grab something off the desk or other counter rather than spin on the chair to keep our spine straight. Same thing happens when standing, your feet are not stuck in concrete, so pick them up and move your body to face the object to grab it and then turn back around and get back to whatever your were doing.
Tip 5: Don’t put your foot down step it up for a change!
You may experience pain when slightly leaning forward e.g. brushing your teeth, washing dishes and food prep. An easy way to alleviate the strain on your back is to open up one of the cabinet doors and place one of your feet up and inside the cabinet (if there is nothing underneath to step up on) you can purchase a collapsible step from a store like Bed, Bath and Beyond to use instead.