Over the last couple of decades, the nature of work has become increasingly sedentary. As office jobs grew increasingly common, so did a lot of posture-related as well. In addition to that, most workstations aren’t set up to promote biomechanics and proper posture for employees. As a result, most workers spend most of their working lives in poor postural positions that have an adverse effect and is responsible for most of their back pains after working.
If you have an office-related job, you need to become much more aware of the fact that good posture is essential especially in workstations.
Possible Cause of Back Pain at Work
Many causes contribute significantly to back pain at work. Here are some examples:
Force- Exerting too much force on the back such as moving and lifting heavy objects may cause pain or injury.
Repetition- Repeating certain movements, such as rotating and twisting the spine, can also be a primary reason why the back is injured.
Inactivity- A desk or a sedentary job can also be common causes of back pain. For example, sustaining poor posture and sitting all day without adequate back support.
Paying Attention to Your Posture When you Work
When you’re working 8 hours or more daily, sitting on a desk, it’s crucial to keep in mind to always maintain the spine in a neutral position. Also, minimize looking sideways, up and down for extended periods. More often than not, these positions can significantly put stress and strain on both your neck and back.
When sitting, keep in mind to keep your feet planted on the ground and avoid crossing your legs. Doing so keeps back pains and injuries at bay.
Here are also some considerations that you should pay attention to:
Desk- At a height where elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle especially when typing.
Computer monitor- Raised, and the eyes should be looking at the upper 1/3 of the screen.
Chair- Ideally, it must have five wheels, and easily adjustable when it comes to height. The back must be flexible, with an option to stay erect or tilt it in different degrees. The back of the chair must also have adequate lumbar support which can be adjusted to customize its location.
Seat Depth- Can be adjusted to allow at least 2-3 finger-widths between the upper calves and the chair. Moreover, the knees should be bent on a 90-degree angle, and the feet should touch the floor.
Armrests- Should be adjustable. They shouldn’t be too far from the body, or else, may also contribute to slouching.
Taking Precautions When Lifting
If most of your job duties involved frequent lifting, one effective way to prevent back pain is developing a proper lifting technique. During lifting, do not try to attempt to lift by bending forward. Also both the hips and knees should be bent, and not the back. As much as possible, keep the object close to your body, as you straighten up your legs to lift.
Moreover, when lifting or holding a heavy object, avoid twisting or turning your back or raising it above shoulder level.
Taking frequent breaks, such as moving around and standing up helps ease the tension in your muscles. So try it ‒ see to it that every hour, you take a quick 5-minute break to stretch and walk around for a bit. You can also try taking short 15 second breaks in between tasks. Use these short-periods to your advantage to stand up and stretch.
Sitting on an office chair might be simple, it’s also very fatiguing. An alarm is one of the easiest ways to be accountable to yourself. Set a silent alarm that goes off every hour or every 30 minutes. That way, even if it’s impossible for you at times to stand up and take a quick stretching break, it serves as a reminder for you that you’re sitting on your office chair for too long.
Increasing your Calcium and Vitamin D Intake
Do you know that having calcium and vitamin D deficiency are one of the leading causes of osteoporosis? Osteoporosis, in turn, is one of the most common causes of back pain as you age, especially if you’re a woman.
To keep the bones in your spine healthy and strong, you should consume food that is rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Foods rich in calcium are:
- leafy vegetables
- sardines and canned salmon
Foods rich in vitamin D are:
- fatty fish
- egg Yolks
- foods that are rich in fortified vitamin D (dairy products, cereals, soy milk, and orange juice)
Consider Replacing Your Shoes
Another cause of back pain that lead to misalignment of the spine and poor posture is the kind of shoes that you use. Shoes play an important role in both spine and hip alignment because it serves as the base for the rest of your body. Try getting supportive shoes instead, to accommodate your feet’s biomechanics. Doing so can significantly reduce the cause of your back pain.
Lighten your load
Sometimes, you tend to stuff a variety of items in your bag from your laptop to the assortment of snacks, beauty items, and other essentials. But do you know that too many people suffer aches and pains that stem from carrying too much weight around?
It’s true ‒ too much weight can also be detrimental to the body. It can lead to problems later on such as scoliosis, osteoarthritis, tension headaches, muscle strains, and nerve trauma.
Consult a Professional Help
Back pain may usually go away on its own, but there are times that you need to seek out the help of a medical professional. If you’re already experiencing back pain, follow some of the discussed tips above and consider seeking out a specialist near you.
According to Ontario Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre. Consulting a professional is always the best answer whenever you feel something in your body. Seeking expert advice can save you from both physical and financial damage.