How to Prevent Lower Back Pain at Work?

Desk Work

Any job that involves sitting down for hours at a time, particularly if the position is unvarying, is likely to lead to pressure on the discs between the vertebrae. In a sitting position the action of the iliopsoas muscle exerts a continuous pressure on the vertebrae in your lower back. The increased pressure in a sitting position raises the risk of the disc moving out of place or losing the soft, cushiony material inside. It also reduces the space between the vertebrae, leading to an increased likelihood of facet joint problems. What’s more, if your sitting posture isn’t good, there’s also risk that the damage will be long term.

How to reduce your risk:

  • Take frequent breaks to walk and stretch.
  • Adjust your sitting posture.
  • Check that your chair and desk are at a suitable height and that your chair back is angled correctly.

Driving Jobs

Any job that involves long periods behind the wheel involves a risk to back health. Some of these are the same as for any other sedentary work, principally, disc compression. Perhaps surprisingly, the backs of those who drive cars are more at risk than those who drive trucks, buses and other large vehicles for a living. This is because the angled position that many car drivers adopt involves a greater strain on the back than the more upright posture of a truck driver. When you are tilted back, too much of the driver’s weight is placed on the lower back. In an upright position much of your weight is supported by your thighs. Unfortunately, the constant vibration of driving has a damaging effect on the spine in all types of vehicle.

It’s also worth mentioning the risk of whiplash injuries. These most commonly occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents in which there is an impact either from the front or behind. Whiplash injuries can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain that may persist for several months. What’s more, the kinds of impact that cause whiplash may occasionally cause more serious spinal damage.

How to reduce your risk:

  • Whether a driver or a passenger, always have a headrest in position to prevent the neck from jerking backward in a collision.

Standing Jobs

A large number of jobs can involve long periods of standing. These include retail work, security, restaurant and bar work, and many others. The back risk in this type of work is that tiredness can lead to poor posture, which in turn can create stresses on your spine and in the surrounding muscles.

How to reduce your risk:

  • Walk about whenever you can.
  • If possible, stand with one foot up on a stool or footrail. It takes a lot of stress off the low back. Alternate the foot you rest periodically.
  • Do stretching exercises every hour or so.
  • Lie down, if practical, during longer breaks.

Jobs That Involve Lifting, Carrying, and Repeated Movements

Day after day, week after week, you can perform the same movement without a problem, then one day you feel your back “go.” This is because regular strain on he back along with poor posture can damage the discs over time, so that, eventually, even a minor stress can cause a disc to rupture or prolapse. Other possible problems related to regular stress include inflammation of the facet joints and over-stretching of the supporting ligaments – both which can weaken the whole structure, and allow the vertebrae to be nudged out of alignment.

Proper Posture in Lifting Heavy Load

How to reduce your risk:

  • Avoid lifting and twisting at the same time. Always lift a load straight in front of you.
  • Rest frequently if carrying out task that involves repeating the same movement for an extended period of time.

Always Lift Load with Straight Spine

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