Back Pain and the Workplace

Back pain is particularly common in adults who are of a working age. Some back pain was caused or made worse by work. About 13% of the unemployed people cite back pain as the reason they are without a job.

Which Jobs are Most Often Associated With Back Pain?

Back pain can arise in many work situations, but certain occupations carry a greater risk then others. These include:

  • Heavy manual labouring
  • Heavy equipment operating
  • Nursing
  • Delivery work
  • Removal work
  • Manual packing of goods
  • Office work involving sitting at a computer station

In general, jobs that involve heavy lifting, handling bulky loads in awkward places, handling vibrating equipment like pneumatic drills or driving long distances over rough ground, can all make back pain worse. Office jobs can also aggravate back pain. Spending all day sitting at a badly adjusted workstation performing a repetitive task like typing or answering the phone, can make the problem worse. A number of exercises can be performed whilst you sit at your desk, which can minimise the chances of suffering from back pain.

Work-Related Tasks That Can Aggravate Back Pain

Back Aggravator

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Lifting awkward or bulky objects
  • Repetitive actions
  • Stretching, twisting, reaching
  • Cold temperatures
  • Vibrationi
  • Sitting uncomfortably

Workers at High Risk

  • Factory workers
  • Removal men, nurses
  • Typists, telephonists
  • Mechanics
  • Fishermen
  • Driller
  • Train or bus drivers, supermarket cashiers

10 Ways to Make Your Office More Ergonomically Friendly

  1. Make sure you’re not stretching for your keyboard and your neck is not bent.
  2. Use foot rests and wrist rests if you need to.
  3. Keep our feet at right angles to your lower legs.
  4. Get your eyes checked regularly so that you are not leaning forward to read your computer screen.
  5. Make sure your chair is comfortable and can be adjusted.
  6. If possible choose a desk that can be adjusted to the right height for you.
  7. Keep your mouse next to and on the same level as our keyboard.
  8. Position your keyboard in front of the direction you look to the monitor, not off to the side.
  9. Use a telephone headset if you are on the phone constantly.
  10. Try not to sit in the same position all day long.

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