Back pain can be more than just painful, it can cost you time and money. Make a few changes to ensure it doesn’t cost you your job too!
Whether you are aware of it or not, your lower back is involved in almost every move you make 크로우즈 제로 다운로드. Your spine, muscles and nerves all work together to keep you standing up straight, as well as helping you bend, sit and twist.
Your back is like a really busy bus stop, and with all that traffic, it’s not surprising that at some point something will go wrong! And it does… often. Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.
Is your job the cause of your back pain?
There are a number of factors that contribute to lower back pain. Your age and shape of your spine both play a part, but how you spend your day at work is also important. The most common causes of back pain in the workplace include:
- Putting too much pressure on your back (e.g. lifting heavy objects)
- Repeating certain movements, especially those that involve twisting or rotating your spine
- Sitting for long periods of time, especially if you have poor posture
- Vibration of the entire body (such as working with jack-hammers)
There isn’t much you can do to change your age (unfortunately), or the shape of your spine, but the good news is that there ARE changes you can make to your daily work schedule that can help to protect your back.
It’s all in the “ergonomics”
“Ergonomics” is all about making changes to the way you do your job that makes your back work less, and the other, stronger body parts work harder, such as your legs and core (tummy) muscles. This means making changes to your posture and avoiding stressful movements to reduce tiredness, discomfort and damage to your back.
If you have a job that requires sitting or standing all day, keep your posture in check
Sitting up straight does more than just make you look taller. It takes much of the pressure off your lower back. Once you start focusing on your posture, you’ll start to notice how much better your back feels.
- Keep your head up. Make sure you keep your head and neck right above your shoulders, try not to strain forward
- When standing, balance your weight evenly on your feet, keep your tummy tight and don’t slouch!
- When sitting, try to choose a chair that supports your back. If that isn’t possible, put a pillow behind you at the base of your spine
- When sitting, change the height of your chair so that your feet are resting flat on the floor
- When sitting, sit close enough to your desk that you can rest your elbows on it
- Take regular breaks. Get up for some water, go to the bathroom or do some shoulder rolls. Movement takes the pressure off your spine and boosts blood flow to it.
If you have a job that requires you to lift heavy objects, lift with your legs
Always think before you lift and make a plan. For example, where does the object need to go, and is there anything in the way? Once you have your plan, use the healthy lifting technique:
- Before lifting, stand with your feet apart, one foot slightly ahead with the other. Keeping your feet wider apart helps your balance during lifting
- Arch your back inwards and lock it in using your muscles. Tuck your chin in as in military attention and stick out your chest to arch your back.
- Lift the object using your legs, not your back! Keep your muscles tight.
- Keep the object as close to you as possible, and don’t twist while lifting
- Keep this same “locked” position when you put the object down.
- Know your limits. If an object is too heavy – ask for help!
If you have a job that requires you to do repetitive movements, mix it up
Doing the same movement over and over isn’t only going to place strain on your lower back, but also any other part of your body involved in the movement. Try to change your movements regularly to give each joint a bit of a break. Don’t forget these healthy back rules too:
- Push, don’t pull
- Keep your tummy muscles tight all the time
- Don’t do any twisting or bending that isn’t absolutely necessary
- Listen to your body. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Change your position or try another task
- Always make sure that the settings on any equipment you are using are right for YOU!
Other ways you can support your back so that it can support you
- Stop smoking. Smoking can reduce blood flow to your spine and the muscles that support it
- Stay in a healthy weight range. Extra weight, especially around your belly places extra strain on your lower back
- Stay physically active. This will strengthen your lower back (and the rest of you too).
If you have back pain, or even if you don’t, take the time to look around your work environment and look for situations that might be hurting your back. Even simple steps to ease back pain are steps in the right direction!
Sources: MayoClinic; KZN Department of Health, NHS choices