When you think about jobs that cause back pain, you might first think of jobs that involve physical labor. You might assume construction workers, warehouse workers, and farm workers are the most likely to experience back pain at work.
While jobs that involve physical labor certainly carry back pain risk, many other jobs do as well. If you have any of the following jobs, you’ll need to take steps to prevent and treat back pain.
1. Office Worker
It might seem like sitting at a desk for the majority of the day carries no risk for back injury. However, office workers are some of the most likely employees to experience back pain. Sitting in the same position for many hours puts a lot of stress on your back. This is especially true if you have poor posture.
If you have a desk job, the best way to prevent back pain is to make sure you get regular standing and walking breaks. Stand up every half hour or so and take a little walk to get water or talk to a coworker. This movement gives you the opportunity to stretch and reduce pressure and stress on your back.
The best posture to reduce back stress is to sit with your hips touching the back of the chair and your feet flat on the floor. Your keyboard should sit directly in front of you so that your hands and wrists can remain straight as you type. Position your computer monitor so that its top is about two inches above your eye level. This position will reduce your back and neck strain while you look at your monitor.
2. Childcare Provider
Childcare providers perform many daily, routine tasks that can increase back pain risk. These tasks include carrying children and bending over to pick up toys. Repeated tasks such as changing diapers and tying shoes can also put strain on the back and neck. Plus, sitting on the ground with children is an awkward position that can cause back strain.
If you’re a childcare provider, one way to reduce back pain is to remember to lift properly. When you lift a child, a toy, or another object, do not bend forward and lift with your back. Instead, bend your knees and squat, and keep your back straight as you lift.
How can you avoid back pain when you perform repeated tasks like changing diapers? Use a changing table so you don’t have to bend over as much.
Even with these strategies, you can’t avoid all bending and lifting when you work as a childcare provider. Stretching for a few minutes before and after work can help you face your daily tasks. Stretching improves flexibility and range of motion and can help you prevent injury.
3. Truck Driver
Like office workers, truck drivers sit in the same position for many hours each day. Because truck drivers can’t move and stretch their joints very often, these joints become compressed, causing lower back pain. The sitting involved with truck driving also increases the risk of pinching the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve stretches from the lower back to the back of the leg.
If you work as a truck driver, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your back pain risk. As often as possible, stop at rest stops to walk and stretch. Try stretches like:
- Hip stretch. While standing, step back with your right foot. Bend your left leg and keep your right leg straight. Now, bend forward at your waist until you feel the stretch. Repeat with the other leg.
- Child’s pose. Start out on your hands and knees. Sit back so your rear end touches your heels. Now, stretch your arms forward to stretch your back.
- Cat/cow pose. Stay on your hands and knees. Arch your spine and hold it for a few seconds. Now, round your back and hold that pose for a few seconds. Continue to switch between poses.
You can even stretch while you drive by gently rolling your neck and shoulders. Another way to relieve back pain while you drive is to roll up a towel and place it behind your lower back. If you’re overweight, losing weight can reduce pressure on your spine.
Even if you don’t perform a lot of physical labor at work, that doesn’t mean your back pain risk is any less. Follow these tips to relieve back pain and to prevent it from becoming more serious.
Unfortunately, following these tips doesn’t mean you’ll never experience back pain. Serious pain deserves serious treatment options, including physical therapy, injection therapy, and neurosurgery.
If you need relief from your work-related back pain, call Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates for an appointment. We’ll create a customized treatment plan to help you work and move again without pain.