Back pain comes in second only to stress as a leading cause of sickness absences from work in Britain. In addition, 80% of the population suffers from back pain at some point in their lives.
In the United States, 1 million workers suffer from back pain yearly, accounting for 20% of all workplace absences and second only to the common cold.
While injuries and accidents do contribute to the problem, 85% of back pain in the workplace is actually related to incorrect posture, incorrect lifting techniques, excessive weight and lack of exercise.
Back pain happens to both manual as well as sedentary workers. And much of the back pain for both groups is often caused by poor posture. Incorporate the following advice for helping correct and prevent back pain caused by incorrect posture.
- Learn about ergonomics to ensure a healthy working environment.
- Make sure chairs and work areas are adjusted to proper height for reducing back strain.
- Take regular breaks to stretch stiff muscles.
- Use proper sitting & standing techniques.
- Wear proper shoes & use good posture when standing for long periods.
Correct Lifting Technique
The most common back injuries in the workplace are sprains, strains and herniated discs. While age does contribute, the problem largely stems from incorrect lifting technique. Employ the following tips to reduce back injury caused by improper lifting.
- Ask for help with heavy objects.
- Hold objects close to the body when lifting.
- Avoid twisting when lifting and carrying heavy objects.
- Use leg muscles to lift instead of back muscles.
- Lift slowly, staying in control without jerking.
While posture and correct lifting go a long way in preventing back pain, living a healthy lifestyle can go even further with regard to reducing and even eliminating time off work due not only to back pain but to other health issues as well. Consider the following healthy lifestyle tips for reducing back pain & increasing overall health and wellness.
- Improve back flexibility and strength with stretching exercises.
- Exercise regularly.
- Remember that a good night’s sleep allows for necessary repairs to your body.
- Pay attention to warning signs and seek treatment immediately.
- Quit smoking & control weight to increase blood flow and reduce strain.
While back pain may be a leading cause of workplace absences, there’s no shortage of solutions for reducing these absences. Use the above tips as a starting point for improved back health, and continue educating yourself by reading some of the abundance of information available for back healthy and safety in the workplace. The following list of articles will help educate you on back health & safety in the workplace.
- Occupational Safety to Prevent Back Injuries
- Back Safety at Work
- Back Safety in the Workplace
- Safety and Health in the Workplace – Preventing Back Injuries
- National Back Care Awareness Week
- Back Care Basics – Preventing Lower Back Pain and Maintaining a Healthy Back
- Lifestyle Changes for a Healthy Back