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Yalich Clinic is proud to tout our involvement with the following sports leagues:
by: Jonathan Dunbar D.C., C.S.C.S.More
Crain Health Park
331 Oak Manor Drive, Suite 101
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
Back pain can make it hard to do your job. Understanding what causes workplace back pain can help you avoid it. Whether it's dull and annoying or screaming for attention, back pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. Many occupations — such as nursing, construction and factory work — may place significant demands on your back. Even routine office work can worsen back pain if you fall into risky habits. But you often can avoid back pain and injuries by understanding what causes them and focusing on prevention.
Doctors aren't sure about all of the causes of back pain. In fact, most back problems are probably the result of a combination of factors. Some factors, such as family history, aren't preventable. Other factors, such as weight, fitness and flexibility, can be controlled by changing your lifestyle. Still other factors are work related, and you may or may not be able to modify these to prevent injury. Four work-related factors are associated with increased risk of back pain and injury:
Exerting too much force on your back may cause injury. If your job is physical in nature, you might face injury if you frequently lift or move heavy objects.
Repetition refers to the number of times you perform a certain movement. Overly repetitious tasks can lead to muscle fatigue or injury, particularly if they involve stretching to the end of your range of motion or awkward body positioning.
Posture refers to your position when sitting, standing or performing a task. If, for instance, you spend most of your time in front of a computer, you may experience occasional aches and pains from sitting still for extended periods of time. On average, your body can tolerate being in one position for about 20 minutes before you feel the need to adjust.
Pressures at work or at home can increase your stress level and lead to muscle tension and tightness, which may in turn lead to back pain.
Your best bet in preventing back pain and injury is to be as fit as you can be and take steps to make your work and your working environment as safe as possible.
Even if you move around a lot on your job or your job requires physical exertion, you still need to exercise. Regular exercise is your best bet in maintaining a healthy back. First of all, you'll keep your weight in check, and carrying around a healthy weight for your body's frame minimizes stress on your back. You can do specific strengthening and stretching exercises that target your back muscles. These exercises are called "core strengthening" because they work both your abdominal and back muscles. Strong and flexible muscles will help keep your back in shape.
Poor posture stresses your back. When you slouch or stand with a swayback, you exaggerate your back's natural curves. Such posture can lead to muscle fatigue and injury. In contrast, good posture relaxes your muscles and requires minimal effort to balance your body.
There's a right way and a wrong way to lift and carry a load. Some key tips for lifting the right way include letting your legs do the work, keeping objects close to your body and recruiting help if a load is too heavy.
Look at the setup of your office or work area. Think about how you could modify repetitive job tasks to reduce physical demands. Remember that you're trying to decrease force and repetition and maintain healthy, safe postures. For instance, you might use lifting devices or adjustable equipment to help you lift loads. If you're on the phone most of the day, try a headset. Avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear to free up your hands for yet another task. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor and chair are positioned properly.
Pay attention to your surroundings and abilities on the job. Take these steps to prevent back pain:
Being under stress causes your muscles to tense, and this can make you more prone to injury. In addition, the more stress you feel, the lower your tolerance for pain. Try to minimize your sources of stress both on the job and at home. Develop coping mechanisms for times when you feel especially stressed. For instance, perform deep-breathing exercises, take a walk around the block or talk about your frustrations with a trusted friend.