Back pain and other musculo-skeletal aches and pains are the single biggest cause of sickness absence. This is a huge financial cost to employers resulting in lost working days, increased sick pay and reduced productivity.
- 60 – 80% of adults will at some point in their lives suffer acute low back pain.
- Most back pain will settle quickly. Take aches and pains seriously if they occur.
If it is very painful you may need to reduce some activities.
However rest for more that 1 – 2 day usually does more harm than good.
- Your back is designed for movement. The sooner you get back to normal activity the sooner your back will feel better.
- Musculo-skeletal problems in the workplace.
- Review health and safety risk assessments.
- Ensure that staff are not being put at risk because of the work they do.
Develop a physical activity policy to encourage staff to have active lifestyles.
Back problems at work are caused by abnormal strains on the spine, which damage the tissues. These strains may be sudden (such as lifting a heavy load awkwardly) or chronic (spending hours in a certain posture).
Back problems often start at work. An office worker typically spends up to 40 hours a week hunched solid over their desk, a taxi driver bent into the driving seat for more than 25,000 miles a year, or a checkout assistant sat on a poorly designed chair at her till all day... Our backs may be put under prolonged strain by our jobs and its hardly surprising that something within the delicate balance of bones and muscles so often fails.
The result is traumatised, bruised or inflamed muscles, damaged ligaments, misalignment of tiny vertebral joints or damage to the discs between the vertebrae. Sometimes a back problem directly follows an injury but often it appears quite unrelated to any specific event. It can be difficult to establish clearly what damage has been done to the back. (Source: http://www.healthatwork.org.uk)
Learn about your spine and how to look after it
Check your working environment - could it be kinder to your back?
If you develop a back problem, try to get back to work as soon as possible
Keeping your back healthy
- Improve your general fitness. Lose weight if you're overweight. Take regular exercise.Work on your posture.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that cushion your spine especially if you have to stand for long periods. Avoid high heels.
- Think about your working environment – is your desk layout or comfortable for your back, and does your chair support the natural S shape of your spine?
- Have regular breaks. Don't stay seated in one position for too long. Get up and move around for at least 5 minutes every hour.
In-depth information to help patients understand, prevent and seek appropriate treatment for back pain and neck pain www.spine-health.com.
What is back pain? Info on structural therapies and more...
Self Help - Back Pain