Back pain is one of the biggest reasons for work absences. It is a common health issue for workers impacting both the productivity and morale of a company’s workforce.
Back pain is commonly caused by sprains, strains and posture problems. There are two categories of back pain:
- Acute pain, which usually lasts for less than six weeks
- Chronic pain, which lasts for more than six weeks
In the workplace, there are several activities considered high risk for injury such as:
- Heavy and repeated lifting
- Working too long without breaks
- Incorrect and uncomfortable work positions
Here are some tips to prevent back pain in the workplace.
Having proper posture
Sitting for a long period of time in front of a monitor without taking any breaks can be very tiring. Health experts recommend getting up for at least 1 to 2 minutes every 30 minutes.
Workstation factors affecting your back:
- The position of the computer monitor
- Seating posture
- The height of the chair
- The position of the keyboard and mouse
- The arrangement of equipment in the workstation
Adjusting the chair
Having the right chair at your workplace may seem insignificant but as required by law, workstation chairs must be stable. In fact, it must adhere to the standard requirement of an office chair, with five legs in a star shape.
The height of the chair must be adjustable and allow for a comfortable sitting position.
Proper sitting posture is important to avoid any back injuries. Your feet should be firmly on the floor. You may use a footrest to feel more comfortable. Your thighs should slope slightly down and ensure your knees are in line with your hips.
Safely lifting objects
Incorrectly handling objects can lead to back injury. Here are some key points:
- Be in a stable position
- The load must be close to your waist
- Do not twist your back when lifting
- Avoid lifting heavy loads
- Push, do not pull heavy objects
Taking short and frequent breaks is good for your back. It prevents muscle tension by relaxing your muscles.
Taking a break could be as simple as getting a drink, going to the restroom, having a short walk, or going for some fresh air.
How to treat back pain
The best treatment is staying active. Incorporating physical activity in your daily routines, such as walking and running, will significantly help in alleviating pain. Here are some other tips.
- A hot and cold compress can ease the pain
- Don’t stay too long in bed. The longer you are in a steady position, the weaker your back muscles will feel and continue to hurt.
- Stay positive.
- See a physician. Treatment involves therapy, pain management and acupuncture
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