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Tips to Avoid Back Pain at Work

Medikoe Wellness Expert

Medikoe Wellness Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     Feb 17, 2017

   6 min     



Whether it’s achy and dull or sharp and hurting, back pain can make it difficult to focus on your job. Sadly, many occupations — such as construction, nursing and factory work — can set necessary demands on your back. Even everyday office work can cause or worsen back pain. Understand what constitutes back pain at work and what you can do to limit it.

Common causes of back pain at work

Several factors can add to back pain at work. For example:

  • Inactivity. An inactive, idle or a desk job can give back pain, primarily if you have bad posture or sit all day in a chair with poor back support.
  • Force. Giving too much force on your back — such as by moving or lifting heavy objects — can cause pain.
  • Repetition. Repeating specific movements, particularly those that include rotating or twisting your spine, can harm your back.

Can Back Pain be Prevented?

As specialists in repairing and promoting mobility and movement in people’s lives, physiotherapists play an essential role not only in healing acute or chronic low back pain but also in blocking it and lessening your risk of having it come back.

Physiotherapy or physical therapy aids in using the following tactics to prevent back pain:

  • Use adequate body positioning at work, home, or during resting activities.
  • Uphold a regular physical fitness routine—being active can help to limit injuries.
  • Keep the weight close to your body while lifting.
  • Ask for help before lifting weighty objects.

Few Tips to Avoid Back Pain at Workplace

Maintaining and Identifying Good Back Support and Posture

Not keeping a good posture and sufficient back support can contribute to strain to muscles and develop stress on the spine. Over time, the stress of inadequate posture can alter the anatomical characteristics of the spine, heading to the likelihood of constricted blood vessels and nerves, alongwith the problems with discs, muscles, and joints.

Holding correct posture implies keeping each part of the body in alliance with the adjoining parts. A good posture holds all parts balanced and maintained. With proper posture (when standing), it should be probable to draw a vertical line from the earlobe, through the shoulder, hip, knee, and into the middle of the ankle.

Stay Active To Lessen Back Pain in the Office

It doesn’t matter how comfortable a person is in an office chair; extended motionless posture is not suitable for the back and is a general contributor to back pain and muscle strain.

To avoid having the back in one position for a lengthy period, remember to stand, stretch and walk at least for a minute or two per half hour. Even a prompt stretch or any smallest movement such as walking to the bathroom or water cooler will help.

A twenty-minute walk will benefit, even more, improving healthy blood flow that delivers essential nutrients to all the spinal formations.

In general, stretching and moving about on a routine basis throughout the day will support in keeping the ligaments, joints, muscles, and tendons loose, which in turn fosters an overall feeling of relaxation, comfort, and ability to concentrate productively.

Taking a Break from Sitting in an Office Chair

In addition, the spine is built for movement, and when sitting in any type of office chair (even an ergonomic office chair) for prolonged periods of time, it is better to get up, stretch, and move around frequently throughout the day to revive stiff muscles.

Alternatives to Traditional Office Chairs

While a traditional office chair is manufactured to give complete support, the alternative options like balance ball chair, treadmill desk, recliner chair, balance stool, kneeling chair, etc. help maintain a good posture without back support. They also need more effective use of one’s muscles (e.g. for balance and to sit upright). If you have a wounded back or other health complications, it is suggested to have an initial talk with your doctor before using one of these types of chairs.

Guidelines to achieve good posture and ergonomics in the workplace

  • Make sure the back is aligned against the end of the office chair. Avoid stooping or leaning forward, particularly when tired from sitting in the office chair for extended periods.
  • For lengthy-term sitting, such as in an office chair, make sure the chair is ergonomically manufactured to maintain the back correctly and that it is a custom fit.
  • Knees should be in level with the hips, or inconsiderably higher when sitting in the office chair.
  • While sitting on an office chair, arms should be kept at a 75 to 90-degree angle at the elbows. If this is not the situation, the office chair should be arranged accordingly.
  • Sit in the office chair with shoulders upright.
  • Have both feet flat on the ground. If there’s a problem with feet touching the floor conveniently, a footrest can be applied along with the office chair.
  • Do not sit in one place for an extended time, even in ergonomic office chairs that already have good back support. Get up and walk around and stretch as required.

Standing Posture 

  • Stand with pressure mostly on the balls of the feet, and not with weight on the heels.
  • Have feet slightingly apart, about shoulder-width
  • Avoid locking the knees.
  • Let arms hang freely down the sides of the body.
  • Tuck the chin in a little to maintain the head level
  • Stand erect and tall, with shoulders upright.
  • Make sure the head is square on top of the spine, and not pushed out forward.
  • If standing for an extended period, shift pressure from one foot to the other, or support from heels to toes.
  • Stand corresponding to a wall with shoulders and bottom contacting the wall. At this point, the back of the head should also be in contact with the wall – if it does not, the head is moved to considerably forward (anterior head carriage).

Walking Posture

  • Maintain the head up and eyes staring straight ahead
  • Avoid pushing the head ahead
  • Have shoulders properly aligned with the other parts of the body

Driving Posture

  • Sit with the back securely against the seat for good back support.
  • The seat should be a decent distance from the steering wheel and pedals to avoid reaching or leaning forward.
  • The headrest should help the middle of the head to keep it straight. Tilt the headrest ahead if possible to be assured that the head-to-headrest distance is not greater than four inches.

Posture and Ergonomics While Lifting and Carrying

  • Always bend, not the waist, but at the knees
  • If required, get a supportive belt to support good posture while lifting
  • Use the leg and stomach muscles for lifting, and not the lower back
  • When carrying a heavy or large object, keep it near to the chest
  • If taking something with one arm, shift that in both arms frequently
  • When carrying a backpack, do not lean forward or around the shoulders.
  • When carrying a purse or a bag, keep it as light as possible, and balance the weight on both sides as much as you can, or shift from side to side.

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Tags:  Workplace Wellness, posture, spinal discs, Physiotherapy, ,low back pain, physical fitness, physical pain, body pain

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