Preventing Back Pain

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Back pain can affect other parts of the body, making every day activities, including work, difficult and uncomfortable. Did you know that the way you do your work each day could be contributing to back pain? Here's how.

  • Force: Lifting and moving heavy objects can put a lot of strain on your back and lead to injury.
  • Repetition: Performing certain movements over and over can cause muscle fatigue.
  • Posture: Slouching over exaggerates the natural curve of your spine, and can cause muscle fatigue or injury.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these things, or at least minimize their effects. Take these steps to keep you back in shape and up to the task at hand.

  • Move every day. Adults are recommended to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. Combine these aerobic activities, including walking and swimming, with exercises that will stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back.
  • Be mindful of your posture. Keep weight balanced on both legs and feet when standing, and keep shoulders rolled back. If you sit throughout the day, choose a chair that allows you to keep both feet on the floor while knees are level with the hips. Place a pillow behind your back to support the curve of the lower back.
  • Follow proper lifting procedure. Always lift with the knees when carrying heavy objects. Keep the object held close to your body so you can maintain the natural curve of your back. If the object is too heavy, never be afraid to recruit a co-worker to help you carry it safely. Use lifting devices if they are available to you.
  • Change up your routine. Alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones, so you aren't putting constant strain on your body. Position items on your desk properly, and use a headset if you use the phone frequently. Avoid unnecessary twisting, bending and reaching.
  • Pay attention to your body. If you have been sitting for hours straight and feel tense, get up and walk around for a few minutes or do a stretch or two. If you are experiencing long-term pain, see a doctor immediately as it could develop into something more serious.

Courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.

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