Back pains can be a nuisance as they affect the way we move yet at the same time they’re not easy to diagnose. Those who engage in strenuous activities, such as sports, are always prone to back pains and injuries but they can be prevalent at the work place as well through seemingly innocent means such as the way you’re sitting.
As someone who regularly goes out jogging, I’ve had my fair share of back troubles and can understand how difficult it is to diagnose. Here are some of the primary causes:
Poor Lifting Technique
Poor lifting technique is a prominent cause of pain and can cause chronic agony to all areas of the back. I’d suggest the best idea is to judge the object before you in your head, working out how you should lift it and how heavy it is. Lift with your knees opposed to your back so that the weight isn’t straining your back but coming from the strength in your legs.
Simply put, when someone is too stressed, it causes their muscles and joints to become very tense which tightens up the body and can cause significant stress in the back and pain elsewhere in the body. When the muscles tense up, blood-flow to the tissue is restricted and there is a lack of oxygen and nutrients getting through, causing obvious signs of discomfort.
Poor posture, such as the c-shape that most people slump into when they sit, is very bad for your back. This applies to joggers as well; the back shouldn’t be curved at all but straightened and tall. Keep the back relaxed whilst you’re sitting and ensure you’re not hunched over, either when walking or running, as this will also cause chronic pain.
Lack Of Movement
Everyone’s heard the endearing term ‘couch potato’ before but no one quite knows what its consequences are. For those constantly sitting, slouched in front of the TV, or those sitting at work, bored out of their mind, slouched in front of their computer, the lack of movement can cause damage to the back. The spine wasn’t made for sitting for too long and needs to be stretched or exercised.
Poor Body Mechanics
Essentially, body mechanics is the way you use your body. For example, lifting boxes and large items at work in the wrong way, as touched upon, can cause discomfort to your lower back. I’m talking about preventing spinal compression, keeping the back free and fresh from muscle imbalance.
Naturally, there are steps that we can all take in order to prevent the pain from occurring. As mentioned, safe lifting techniques can be employed such as bending with the knees. Other safe lifting techniques of note include remaining as static as possible and keeping the load close to the waist.
To prevent tense muscles, stretch the back as regularly as possible. Whether this is through simple muscle flexes or extending your arms and turning your body, stretching should prevent further problems. For those exercising, ensure you’re keeping within your own limits and not laying unnecessary stress on your back.
For those suffering at work, manual handling courses are usually undertaken in order to counter back problems for members of staff who are to be lifting certain loads. By teaching various safe lifting techniques, manual handling courses are very helpful and are used to alleviate potential back problems through a series of regulated steps. These simple lessons can be undertaken in the work environment or online.
Ross Davies writing for LeBreton Health & Safety Training offering classrom based and online manual handling training.