Back Pain is a Leading Cause of Worker Absences
Back pain is a leading cause of absences from work. In Britain, it comes in second only to stress as the leading cause of sickness absences. In the United States, 1 million workers suffer from back pain yearly, accounting for 20% of all workplace absences. While injuries and accidents contribute to the problem, 85% of back pain in the workplace is related to incorrect posture, incorrect lifting techniques, excessive weight, and lack of exercise.
Correct Your Posture
You can do several things to reduce your risk of developing back pain at work. First, correct your posture. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle when sitting. Your lower back should be supported by a lumbar roll or small pillow. If you must look down frequently, use a document holder placed at eye level to avoid craning your neck. Get up and move around every 30 minutes to keep your muscles from stiffening up. Here are a few more tips to help improve your posture.
- Learn about ergonomics to ensure a healthy working environment.
- Ensure chairs and work areas are adjusted to the proper height to reduce 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 techniques. Employ the following tips to reduce back injury caused by improper lifting.
- Ask for help with heavy objects or use lifting devices.
- 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 to back pain and other health issues. 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.
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options if you have back pain. In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference. With the right help, you can get your back pain under control and get back to work. Correct posture, correct lifting techniques, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular exercise are all key to reducing your risk of back pain.
While back pain may be a leading cause of workplace absences, there’s no shortage of solutions for reducing these absences. First, use the above tips as a starting point for improved back health. Then, continue educating yourself by reading additional information available for back health and safety in the workplace. The following 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