Right now, approximately 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain. Many will miss work today because of it. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work. It is also the leading cause of disability in this country. If you experience back pain on a regular basis, your job may be at fault. Following are five painful work habits that cause back pain.
Failure to Maintain Good Posture
Believe it or not, poor posture can lead to permanent changes in the shape of your spine. Hunching over your keyboard, standing in a slouched position, and working with your arms and shoulders in an odd position all take their toll. If you notice that your back pain gets worse throughout the day or is worse while doing certain tasks, poor posture may be to blame.
Strive to maintain great posture at all times. Keep your back straight, your shoulders back and your eyes straight ahead. If your work station does not allow you to do so, speak with your manager about ergonomic adaptations that will make good posture possible.
Lifting, Twisting and Bending Incorrectly
Lifting, twisting and bending, if done improperly, can lead to muscle strain and injury. The pain associated with back strains can be excruciatingly painful. What's more, it can take several weeks or months to recover from a serious back injury. Some people experience pain for their entire lives after a severe injury.
While working, be sure to perform all functions with the health of your back in mind. Squat, do not bend over, to lift objects. Always face towards the task at hand. Avoid twisting in an unnatural position to reach objects needed for your task.
Eating an Unhealthy Lunch
Carrying excessive weight places a huge strain on your back. If you eat an unhealthy lunch on a regular basis, you will likely put on some weight. However, what you eat has a much more profound effect on the health of your back. Certain foods, such as coffee, desserts and alcoholic drinks, can lead to inflammation and back pain.
To stay healthy, avoid foods that cause inflammation. Also, try to incorporate calcium and vitamin D into your diet whenever possible, as they are essential for good back health.
Taking a Smoke Break
Smoking has a profound effect on your skeletal and muscular systems. Smoking causes loss of bone mass or osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis have weak, brittle bones that are more susceptible to injury. What's more, smoking decreases blood flow to your back, which can delay healing.
While you're at work, skip extra smoke breaks. Try taking no smoke breaks during your work day. If at all possible, limit the amount you smoke outside of work or eliminate the habit altogether.
Not Taking Enough Breaks
Humans were not made to sit at a desk for 8 to 10 hours a day. Sitting and leading a sedentary lifestyle weakens the muscles responsible for supporting your spine. Prolonged periods without movement can also lead to blood clots.
Experts recommend that you sit for no more than 20 minutes for each 30 minutes spent at work. Stand up, stretch or walk around your desk. You may want to consider a standing work station if you simply cannot leave your station during the day. Consider turning your breaks and lunch period into quick exercise sessions to strengthen your muscles and get your blood pumping.
Back pain is no joke; it can be debilitating. Fortunately, there are treatment options. If you are experiencing back pain, let the experts at Pain Care Management help. Call today to make an appointment.