Back problems are now routine in society. This makes it very important to understand what may be causing this and what factors within your lifestyle could be changed to aid or prevent this issue from arising at all. Whilst we can’t change our DNA and current make up, nor in some instances our jobs, how we interact in our daily tasks and movements can be the difference between minor aches and disabling pain.
Construction industry roles typically are very strenuous on the back for example, Concrete-reinforcement workers and carpenters have more back pain than what is typically seen in office workers.
However, carpal tunnel syndrome can be much more prevalent in office workers. Different roles put different pressures and strains on different areas of the body.
Heavy lifting in awkward positions can put the back discs under load which exceeds the strength of the ligaments. This is called a sprain and in a severe case the disc can bulge and herniate.
If the worker can lift in less awkward positions with good ergonomics, then the discs are less likely to herniate as they are under less load. It’s common that the spine is stiff in the morning and develops higher levels of pressure in the discs, so it is not recommended that the worker does as much heavy lifting at this time.
Being mindful of this it’s much safer to lift lighter loads in the morning. Nevertheless, at any stage of the day lifting and twisting makes the spine far more susceptible to injury. Getting help is the main prevention many people do not consider.
Sitting for lengthy periods of time can be damaging to the spine. Initially because there is the inactivity which causes muscles to weaken. The spine is designed for movement walking. As the saying goes, “an apple a day” is good but a walk a day is better.
The spine is built to move, especially walk. Sitting causes heightened pressure in the discs of the low back. If you add vibration (e.g. bus/taxi driver) the sitting effects are worse. Regular walks and a proper supporting seat help to minimise any future back issues.
Every individual work situation has its own stresses and strain on the body and each and should be assessed appropriately. The correct spinal posture while working is key to overall good health and is the best prevention for back injury.