The Little Things Can Cause Back Pain
May 17, 2012 General, Office Ergonomics, Manual Material Handling
Back pain is something that most of us will experience sometime in our lives. Often the cause of back pain is misunderstood.
We do not have to be lifting something heavy to cause an injury. Often it is the little things we do on a daily basis that initiate the injury process and it may be the lift or twist that is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.
- Sitting places up to 50% more force on the back compared to standing erect.
- Prolonged sitting or standing with a forward head or slightly bent forward posture increases the pressure on the lumbar disc and changes the pressure to the disk back wall next to spinal nerve roots.
- Our body sags in response to gravity; this adds stress to our back. Poor posture, tight muscles, and weak core strength increase the risk of back injuries.
- We sit at work more than ever in the past.
- Pain, tingling, and numbness can go from the back to your foot and anywhere in between. Often the cause of this pain is in your back. The discomfort anywhere else is considered referred pain.
- Heavy and awkward lifting are back pain contributors.
What you can do:
- Take stock of your daily behaviors and posture. Do you walk, sit, and stand in good posture?
- Adjust your chair to fit your posture. Ensure the back support fills the inward curve of your low back. Sit back in the chair and up on your pelvis.
- After prolonged sitting or driving, stand up and gently perform a back bend to neutralize the disc pressure.
- Eliminate all lifts from the floor.
- Set up your work bench to reduce any extended reaches and awkward bending.
- As you age your body changes. Gravity’s pull seems greater and your muscles weaken and shorten. Stretching and strengthening can help slow this change. Maintaining good posture, core strength, and flexibility are keys to slowing these changes.
- Good sleep and good food are essential to a healthy body.
More resources can be found within the Safety Director at www.memic.com; check out the Resource Library by searching “back injury” or click the Ergonomics tab.