Back pain is one of the common problems that can hinder one’s routine life. Almost every individual would experience back pain. Back pain can be short-lived or persistent pain that can range from mild to severe. Unfortunately, many occupations, such as routine office work (desk jobs), construction, and factory work can increase the risk of developing significant pain on the back.
Back pain can either be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting). Acute pain is often caused by lifting heavy weights in an incorrect posture, accident, or fall. Most of the time, it gets better in due course of time without any treatment. Whereas, chronic back pain can last for more than three months and would usually require medical intervention.
Some people experience severe back pain and greater disability, which shows an effect on the overall quality of life. Back pain can result from an activity, injury, or an underlying medical condition. It can affect people of any age causing uncomfortable and deliberate pain depending on the nerves that are affected in the back.
Common causes of back pain at work:
Staying immotile: Sitting in a poor posture in a chair without any proper back support, especially in a desk job or a stable job can contribute to back pain.
Exerting force: Exerting pressure on the back by moving heavy objects or lifting heavy weights can be one of the common causes of back pain.
Improper movements: Repetition of specific actions that involve twisting of the spine can cause injury to the back.
The factors that can affect the back at workstation are as follows:
- Seating posture
- Layout of the desk equipment
- Chair height
- Position of your chair
The following are the measures to prevent back pain at work:
Observe your posture:
- Ensure good posture while sitting and choose a chair that makes you feel comfortable.
- Also, adjust the height of the chair accordingly, so that it supports your spinal curves and helps you rest your feet flat on the floor.
- Do not put a mobile phone or wallet in the back pocket while sitting in order to avoid putting extra pressure on the lower back as well as buttocks.
Move your body:
- Do not sit in a confined place for a prolonged period. Try to change the position often to avoid pressure on your lower back.
- Walk around and gently stretch the muscles to relieve muscle stiffness.
Alter repetitive tasks:
- Avoid performing repetitive tasks, such as lifting heavy loads, frequently talking over the phone for longer periods while typing or writing.
- Do not bend, twist or try reaching an object in an incorrect position.
- Avoid sitting for long periods and take frequent breaks to provide sufficient relaxation to the muscles.
- This can prevent excessive strain on the muscles and prevents muscle stiffness. Take a break and move away from the screen to ensure muscle relaxation.
Choose the right chair:
- Ensure that your swivels, so that you can turn around your body to avoid exertion or excessive pressure on your back.
Proper back support:
- Opt for a chair that has a proper built-in back support to make yourself comfortable.
- Also, placing a small pillow or a rolled up towel behind your back can fill the lower backspace and prevent back pain.
Performing certain simple exercises at your desk can help to prevent back pain.
- Long spinal stretch: Sit up straight, place your feet flat on the floor and spread them apart. Keep your fingertips on the feet between both the feet and stretch down until your palms are flat.Hold on the position for 30 seconds and repeat this three times.
- Lower spine stretch: Sit firmly and keep your feet flat on the floor and ensure that your sitting bones are properly rested on your seat. Place right hand on the armrest and stretch your left hand straight above your head. Now bend your spine slightly towards your right. Stay in this position for 30 seconds and repeat this thrice on each side.
Back pain can plague your workdays and free time. You're not stuck with it, though. Examine your work environment and address situations that might aggravate your back. Even simple steps to ease back pain are steps in the right direction.