Is Your Job Contributing to Your Back Pain?
No matter your age, gender, or chosen occupation, chances are there are things you do throughout the day that leave you susceptible to back pain. In terms of keeping your spine healthy, prevention and immediate intervention in case of an injury are the keys. According to neurological spine surgeon and founder of DISC Sports & Spine Center, Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr., “There are few jobs out there that won’t contribute to back pain over the course of time. If you sit in an office every day, inactivity and poor posture can wear down your spine and contribute to a chronic injury. For those who are constantly lifting and transporting heavy loads, the threat of an acute injury is exacerbated.” Check out this list of three common jobs that can lead to back pain, and the steps you can take to improve your health.
1. Desk Jobs. For people with traditional office jobs, spinal damage can occur from overall inactivity and poor posture. It’s great if you can sit up straight all day, but you can ask your employer for a desk chair that is specifically designed for greater lumbar support so you can reach the computer keyboard with your elbows bent at a ninety degree angle, and your knees also bent at a right angle. Stretching Tip: Take a stretching break everycouple of hours. Stand up, raise one arm above your head, and bend it to the opposite side of your head, so your ear is resting in the crook of your elbow. Repeat on the other side.
2. Heavy Lifting Jobs. These jobs often lead to back pain as many people have poor lifting techniques, which can sprain tendons, ligaments, or muscle, as well as cause injury to spinal discs. Additionally, these employees may be fatigued, which could prevent them from keeping good lifting technique. They could also be lifting heavier objects than they can muscularly support. Disc pathology, joint point, and arthritis can all be exacerbated by lifting heavy loads. The adage “lift with your knees” is actually true. You need to bend your knees no matter if you have a heavy or light object to transport. Keep your back aligned and stand up straight. Instead of twisting as you lift, move your whole body as needed. Consider a back brace to keep good posture. Stretching Tip: Try this if you experience a dull pain in your lower back. Lie face down on the ground with your hands shoulder-width distance apart and push your upper body off the ground. Keep your hips and legs pressed firmly against the floor. Hold the position for about ten seconds. Take a break and repeat if you’d like.
3. Stay-at-Home Parents. You are constantly bending forward, lifting your kids, and rounding your back. When you reach your limit of forward bending, the back muscles actually stop working and all the weight of the upper body is put on the lumbar spine’s ligaments and discs which can cause a low back sprain. Try to keep your spine straight and use your legs when lifting children. Stretching Tip: Lie on your back with one knee drawn in towards your chest, allowing your arms to do all the work. Hold for 15-20 seconds before going to the other side. Repeat 2-3 times with each leg. Then pull both knees into your chest and hold for 15-20 seconds. Finally, pull one knee towards the opposite shoulder and hold for 15-20 seconds before repeating with the other leg.
Consult your primary care physician with any questions or concerns.