At some point, most people suffer from back pain making it difficult to concentrate on work activities. Back pain can occur as a result of reasons as little as sleeping in a strange position, sitting in an awkward position or, it can be from something more serious like an accident or injury.
Fortunately, there are certain actions you can take to reduce this pain or prevent it from happening:
The health benefits of exercises are well known. Exercise on a regular basis to increase your muscle strength and balance. This routine will help to reduce your risk of back related injuries.
Maintain a good posture and healthy body weight. Bad posture places pressure and strain on your back causing the structure of the spine to change which will then lead to back ache. To achieve a good posture, avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching or bending sideways when standing. Also when sitting, ensure your knees are a little higher than your hips and make use of a chair that provides support for your back.
Increase calcium and vitamin D intake
Keep a healthy diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your spine. This helps to prevent osteoporosis (thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time). You can get calcium from milk, yoghurt, leafy greens and vitamin D in fatty fish, egg yolk, beef liver and cheese.
Carefully lift objects
Be careful when lifting heavy objects. Be sure to support your back by keeping it straight when you do have to lift heavy objects and always lift with your leg muscles. Also, reduce pressure by distributing the weight to both sides of your body.
Smoking restricts blood flow to the discs that cushion your vertebrae, lowers calcium absorption and prevents new bone growth.
Too much stress can affect your health. Your back muscles begin to get tensed up and cause you pain. Reduce activities that affect you and cause stress to your body. Plan your day and time well, delegate work activities and try not to do too many things at the same time.
Avoid being in a position for long
Don’t stand or sit in a position for too long. This is not healthy for your back. Try and move around your office or store, do some simple stretches and mingle with other people. Doctors recommend taking a 2 minutes break every 30 minutes. This will help to improve circulation and prevent your bones from becoming stiff.
When is back pain considered serious?
Most back pain will go away with the right exercise and preventive steps, but some back pain may be a sign of other health problems. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Numbness of the leg, foot, groin or rectal area
- Fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness or sweating
- Less control over bowel movement
- Pain caused by an injury
- Intense pain that affects movement
- Intense pain that doesn’t seem to get better after two to three weeks
- Pain that goes down the leg and below the knee
The ultimate thing to do is to remain active. The longer you remain inactive, the weaker your muscles get. Also, remember to keep a positive state of mind. Follow these tips to help you work more effectively and steer clear of the perils of back pain at work.