Whether you are stuck in the office all day, or involved in more demanding physical labor, there are many repetitive movements that can take a huge toll on your back.
No one has time for low back pain flare ups at work so we have put together a list of 5 common problems that people experience in their workplace and what you can to do try and prevent them from happening to you.
Lifting or moving heavy objects can cause you to exert too much strain on your back, putting you at risk for injury (think nurses helping to lift patients, or our amazing delivery people who bring us pretty much anything we can think of). A study carried out on men aged 18–55 yr who lifted at least 20 kg more than twice a day showed that they were at increased risk of low back pain.
Solution: Lift properly
When lifting and carrying a heavy object, lift with your legs and tighten your core muscles. Hold the object close to your body. If the object is too heavy, get someone to help you with it.
Problem: Repeated Movements
Twisting and/or rotating your spine repeatedly, along with other repetitive movements, can injure your spine. This can be as simple as reaching for the printer next to you or even just grabbing your notes for your next meeting.
Solution: Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching
If you frequently talk on the phone and type, or write, at the same time, place your phone on speaker, or use a headset.
Problem: Prolonged Sitting
Sitting in our chairs for hours at our desks, especially if there is inadequate support from that chair, or if we have poor posture, exacerbates flare ups.
Solution: Change It Up
If you must sit for a prolonged period, change your position often. Walk around every now and then and gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension.
Whole Body Vibration
Whole-body vibration in motor vehicle driving has been found to be a risk factor for low back pain. The vibrations caused by motor vehicles often coincides with the natural frequency of the lumbar spine which makes tissues vulnerable to injury from the resonance. This risk factor puts delivery drivers or Uber/Lyft drivers at higher risk of low back injury.
To promote good posture when sitting, choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Remove your wallet or cellphone from your back pocket when sitting to prevent putting extra pressure on your buttocks or lower back. It also helps to take regular breaks between destinations.
Problem: Psychological Stress
The Covid-19 pandemic led to many people feeling torn between work and family, with many individuals experiencing a significantly impaired work/life balance and high workload. With economic uncertainty and unemployment at an all-time high, employees felt the effects of job insecurity and felt that they should work even longer hours than before, all while balancing full time family responsibilities. This led to an increase in stress, which contributes to the psychological aspects of low back pain.
Taking regular breaks, getting enough sleep each night, and exercising, can help relieve daily stress. There are also a variety of apps that focus on relaxation and stress-relief. If you feel like you need additional help you can call the National SAMHSA hotline, 1–800–622-HELP and they can assist in providing referrals to local organizations or support groups.
These are some of the main problems that people tend to encounter at work, along with some popular solutions. You can also add exercises that will increase your balance and strength to your daily activities. These exercises can further decrease your risk of falling and injuring your back. Current health guidelines actually suggest that the average adult should engage in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity and participate in strengthening exercises 2 or more times per week.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, self-care is more important than ever. Without it our health will decline as well as our productivity levels. Just a few minor changes in your daily routine can bring about significant improvements. So feel free to go ahead and take a few extra minutes for yourself today. You are worth it!
LivaFortis is dedicated to helping people learn more about low back pain and how they individuals can follow guideline based recommendations for long term relief of symptoms.
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