Back Pain at Work: Prevent Back Pain, A Leading Cause of Employee Absenteeism

Every day people across the country are putting their back at risk simply by going to work and most people do not even know it. While people who work in fields such as construction and landscaping understand the risks associated with the heavy lifting involved in their day to day jobs, it may not be as obvious for people in other professions. You don’t have to be performing intense labor to place your back at risk. Even employees working in offices and super markets are at risk for back injuries. Sitting in the same position all day long can cause major issues with your back. Day in and day out we treat our backs poorly and overlook warning signs that lead to back injuries. Lower back pain is listed as the number two reason that patients visit their physicians, second only to the cold and flu.

There are a number of activities that we do every day at work that can put our back at risk. One of these activities is repetitive movements. Repeating the same movements every day can lead to muscle fatigue, especially if you are stretching your range of motion. Other things like poor posture and excess force when repeated over time can also cause injury. One other major factor effecting our back health is stress. As the workforce becomes more competitive, it is causing employees to be under more stress than ever. When your stress level increases, so does muscle tension and tightness which can contribute to back pain.

So what can you do to make sure that back pain does not keep you from going to work?

1) If you have a job where your day consists mostly of sitting at a desk, don’t sit in the same position all day long. Make a habit of standing up and moving around. Take a walk at certain intervals of the day. When you are sitting remember to practice good posture and don’t slouch in your chair. Be sure to stretch from time to time and read our article of maintaining good posture for more tips.

2. If your job requires you to do a lot of heavy lifting take your time and don’t rush through the activity. Bend at the knees and position yourself close to the object that you are lifting. Most importantly, do not overdo it. If the object you are lifting is to heavy or awkward, don’t be afraid to get help.

3. One of the most important things that you can do if your job requires a lot of standing is to make sure that you have the proper footwear. Remember to keep your weight distributed equally on both feet and don’t favor one side or the other, doing so can lead to spine and pelvic problems.

4. Manage your stress level. While stress in the work place is hard to avoid these days, remember to not take on more than you can handle. When stress levels are rising, step away from the situation and do not be afraid to discuss your problems.

By sticking to these simple steps and managing your stress levels, you can greatly reduce your risk of back pain in the work place. These steps will help to keep your back healthy and help to keep you happy at work for many years to come. For more information please contact Dr. Webb and Associates.

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