How To Prevent Back Pain At Work?

How To Prevent Back Pain At Work
Preventing back pain at work – You can take steps to avoid and prevent back pain and injuries at work. For example:

  • Pay attention to posture. When standing, balance your weight evenly on your feet. Don’t slouch. To promote good posture when sitting, choose a chair that supports your lower back. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Remove your wallet or cellphone from your back pocket when sitting to prevent putting extra pressure on your buttocks or lower back.
  • Lift properly. When lifting and carrying a heavy object, get close to the object, bend your knees and tighten your stomach muscles. Use your leg muscles to support your body as you stand up. Hold the object close to your body. Maintain the natural curve of your back. Don’t twist when lifting. If an object is too heavy to lift safely, ask someone to help you.
  • Modify repetitive tasks. Use lifting devices, when available, to help you lift loads. Try to alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair are positioned properly. If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset. Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching. Limit the time you spend carrying heavy briefcases, purses and bags.
  • Listen to your body. If you must sit for a prolonged period, change your position often. Periodically walk around and gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension.

Examine your work environment and address situations that might aggravate your back. Even simple steps can help prevent back injury and pain. June 03, 2021

  1. Low back pain fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  2. Preventing back pain at work and at home. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/preventing-back-pain-at-work-and-at-home/. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  3. Know the facts about backs. National Safety Council. https://www.nsc.org/getmedia/a98369c0-fb56-4e1e-ac38-43ea9cc9ccca/backs-english.pdf.aspx. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  4. Back pain. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain#10. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  5. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.2nd ed.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/our-work/physical-activity/current-guidelines. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  6. Workstation components: Chairs. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_chair.html. Accessed April 11, 2021.

See more In-depth

How can I sit for long hours without back pain?

Low Back Pain Coping Tips The key to recovering from acute low back pain is to maintain the normal curve of the spine. Following the guidelines in this article for 10 to 20 days after you experience the pain may help decrease your recovery time. The following advice will benefit a majority of people with back pain.

If any of the following guidelines causes an increase of pain or spreading of pain to the legs, do not continue the activity and seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist. The key to recovering from acute low back pain (abrupt, intense pain that subsides after a relatively short period) is maintaining the normal curve of the spine (hollow or lordosis).

Supporting the hollow of your back will help decrease your recovery time. Follow these guidelines for 10 to 20 days after you experience acute low back pain: Sitting

Sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes). Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back. Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.) Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.

Here’s how to find a good sitting position when you’re not using a back support or lumbar roll: Correct sitting position without lumbar support. Correct sitting position with lumbar support.

Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds. Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture. Sit in a high-back, firm chair with arm rests. Sitting in a soft couch or chair will tend to make you round your back and won’t support the curve of your back. At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed. When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body. When standing up from a sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.

Driving

Use a back support (lumbar roll) at the curve of your back. Your knees should be at the same level or higher than your hips. Move the seat close to the steering wheel to support the curve of your back. The seat should be close enough to allow your knees to bend and your feet to reach the pedals.

Standing

Stand with your head up, shoulders straight, chest forward, weight balanced evenly on both feet, and your hips tucked in. Avoid standing in the same position for a long time. If possible, adjust the height of the work table to a comfortable level. When standing, try to elevate one foot by resting it on a stool or box. After several minutes, switch your foot position. While working in the kitchen, open the cabinet under the sink and rest one foot on the inside of the cabinet. Change feet every five to 15 minutes.

Stooping, squatting, and kneeling Decide which position to use. Kneel when you have to go down as far as a squat but need to stay that way for awhile. For each of these positions, face the object, keep your feet apart, tighten your stomach muscles, and lower yourself using your legs. Lifting objects

Try to avoid lifting objects if at all possible. If you must lift objects, do not try to lift objects that are awkward or are heavier than 30 pounds. Before you lift a heavy object, make sure you have firm footing. To pick up an object that is lower than the level of your waist, keep your back straight and bend at your knees and hips. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.

Stand with a wide stance close to the object you are trying to pick up and keep your feet firmly on the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles and lift the object using your leg muscles. Straighten your knees in a steady motion. Don’t jerk the object up to your body. Stand completely upright without twisting. Always move your feet forward when lifting an object. If you are lifting an object from a table, slide it to the edge to the table so that you can hold it close to your body. Bend your knees so that you are close to the object. Use your legs to lift the object and come to a standing position. Avoid lifting heavy objects above waist level. Hold packages close to your body with your arms bent. Keep your stomach muscles tight. Take small steps and go slowly. To lower the object, place your feet as you did to lift, tighten stomach muscles, and bend your hips and knees.

Reaching overhead

Use a foot stool or chair to bring yourself up to the level of what you are reaching. Get your body as close as possible to the object you need. Make sure you have a good idea of how heavy the object is you are going to lift. Use two hands to lift.

Sleeping and lying down

Select a firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your mattress. You can also place the mattress on the floor temporarily if necessary. If you’ve always slept on a soft surface, it might be more painful to change to a hard surface. Try to do what’s most comfortable for you. Use a back support (lumbar support) at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist might be helpful. Try to sleep in a position that helps you maintain the curve in your back (such as on your back with a lumbar roll or on your side with your knees slightly bent). Do not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest. When standing up from a lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees, and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.

Other helpful tips

Avoid activities that require bending forward at the waist or stooping. When coughing or sneezing, try to stand up and bend slightly backward to increase the curve in your spine. Sleep on your side with your knees bent. You can also put a pillow between your knees. Try not to sleep on your stomach.

If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under the small of your back. Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/23/2020.

Is back pain from work normal?

Back Pain in the Workplace – International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Introduction Back pain is a common problem among working adults. More than 1 in 4 working adults report current back pain, Some episodes of back pain may be precipitated by physical job demands, but both work-related and non-work related episodes of pain can contribute to work absences, and some workers may experience problems continuing or resuming normal job tasks. While most back pain is not medically serious, the experience of pain can be aversive and self-limiting, and back pain can lead to occupational challenges and disruption. This fact sheet summarizes evidence about back pain in the workplace. Prevalence and Course Both acute episodes of back pain and primary chronic back pain (> 6 months) are common among working age adults, both males and females. Surveys of manual material handling workers suggest a one-year back pain prevalence of 25% for back pain lasting more than 7 days, 14% for back pain requiring medical attention, and 10% for back pain requiring time away from work, After an acute episode of back pain, a majority of individuals are able to return to normal function within several weeks, but in approximately 10 percent of cases, acute back pain can transition to a more chronic problem lasting more than 6 months, After an initial episode of back pain, recurrent episodes of back pain are common, with recurrence estimates as high as two-thirds within 12 months of back pain recovery, In the case of primary chronic back pain, workers may be offered more extensive diagnostics, therapeutic or palliative treatments, employer coordination, or occupational rehabilitation services. Biopsychosocial treatment for subacute or primary chronic back pain is generally considered to be the most effective approach to improve function and prevent long-term work disability, Workplace Risk Factors for Back Pain Certain types of physical job demand increase the risk for back pain onset, but back pain can be experienced across all industries and occupations. Physical job tasks associated with back pain onset include awkward postures, sudden task disruptions, fatigue, heavy lifting, outdoor work, hand movements, and frequent bending and twisting, Psychological demands that increase risk for back pain are low supervisor support, stressful monotonous work, rapid pace work, job insecurity, work-family imbalance, and exposure to hostile work, Occupations reporting the highest rates of back pain include nursing, transportation, construction, warehousing, and landscaping, Primary Prevention in the Workplace In medium- and high-income countries, considerable efforts have been made to prevent the onset or exacerbation of back pain in the workplace. These efforts include reducing high physical demands and awkward postures, training workers in safer lifting and materials handling practices, and re-engineering workstations and assembly lines, These risk reduction measures have led to some decreasing trends in work-related back pain, but some commonly recommended prevention measures at the individual level (e.g., use of “back belts”) have not shown convincing benefits in randomized trials, There is evidence that workers who participate in regular exercise or are provided opportunities to exercise at work with or without education experience lower rates of back pain, Back Pain and Workability Even after careful medical evaluation and management, workers with similar patterns of back pain may experience highly variable outcomes in terms of their ability to stay at work or return to work. Efforts to create valid and objective measurement systems to assess functional capacity and workability are often uncorrelated with return-to-work outcomes, and researchers have noted the complexity of factors contributing to functional and occupational outcomes of back pain including pain beliefs, healthcare systems, workplace support and accommodation, and socio-demographics, Therefore, whether back pain leads to disabling levels of workplace dysfunction depends on individual, system-level, and workplace characteristics, not just on pain intensity. Secondary Prevention in the Workplace In most high-income countries, regulations and policies exist that require employers to provide reasonable accommodation and support to workers with back pain to prevent long-term work disability, unemployment, or unnecessary departures from the workforce. A typical core requirement is that employers provide temporary or permanent job modifications to allow workers to continue working with adjustments for some time as long as essential job elements can be ultimately phased back in over time. In organizations with more proactive policies in return-to-work facilitation and job modification, workers experience fewer sick days and report more positive return-to-work outcomes, Psychosocial and Workplace Factors Associated with Work Disability Some pain-related beliefs and perceptions have been shown to predict more workplace difficulties after the onset of back pain. These include pain catastrophizing, fear of movement, low confidence to overcome pain-related challenges, poor expectations for recovery, psychological distress, and perceptions of greater functional loss, Some workplace factors are also predictors of more workplace difficulties. These include physical job demands, ability to modify work, job stress, workplace social support or dysfunction, job satisfaction, expectation for resuming work, and fear of re-injury, If many of these factors are present, then additional intervention in the form of RTW coordination, counseling, pain education, or gradual activity exposure may be helpful to alleviate these concerns, Communicating with your Provider Many treatment options exist for workers with back pain, and patients should expect health care providers to address occupational factors in their diagnostic and treatment decision-making. Written job descriptions provided by employers may not provide the necessary level of detail for informed decisions about work restrictions, so patients should be prepared to share information with their clinicians about specific job tasks, especially those viewed as most problematic to resume. Proactive communication and guidance from a healthcare provider has been shown to help facilitate return-to-work, especially when providers outreach directly to employers, Occupational Rehabilitation When back pain prevents a return to normal work for more than a few months, there is evidence that multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs are moderately effective to facilitate a return-to-work and improve physical and social function for both acute and chronic back pain, These programs typically integrate the benefits of pain management, psychological counseling, physiotherapy, exercise, patient education, gradual activity exposure, and peer support; however, availability or payment for these programs is limited in many countries and regions. In some cases, vocational retraining may be necessary to transfer skills to a less physical occupation, though job retention is often the preferred goal of the employee and employer. REFERENCES Luckhaupt SE, Dahlhamer JM, Gonzales GT, Lu ML, Ward BW. Prevalence, recognition of work-relatedness, and effect on work of low back pain among U.S. workers. Ann Intern Med.2019;171(4):301-304. Ferguson SA, Merryweather A, Thiese MS, Hegmann KT, Lu ML, Kapellusch JM, Marras WS. Prevalence of low back pain, seeking medical care, and lost time due to low back pain among manual material handling workers in the United States. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.2019;20:243. Hayden JA, Dunn KM, van der Windt DA, Shaw WS. What is the prognosis of back pain? Best Prac Res Clin Rheumatol.2010;24:167-179. Da Silva T, Mils K, Brown BT, Pocovi N, de Campos T, Maher C, Hancock MJ. Recurrence of low back pain is common: a prospective inception cohort study. J Physiother.2019;65(3):159-165. Marin TJ, Van Eerd D, Irvin E, Couban R, Koes BW, Malmivaara A, van Tulder MW, Kamper SJ. Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for subacute low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2017 Jun 28;6(6):CD002193. Kamper SJ, Apeldoorn AT, Chiarotto A, Smeets RJEM, Ostelo RWJG, Guzman J, van Tulder MW. Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for chronic low back pain: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ.2015;350:h444. Dick RB, Lowe BD, Lu ML, Krieg EF. Trends in work-related musculoskeletal disorders from the 2002 to 2014 General Social Survey, Quality of Work Life Supplement. J Occup Environ Med.2020;62(8):595-610. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine Panel on Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Workplace. Musculoskeletal disorders and the workplace: Low back and upper extremities. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2001. Schneider S, Lipinski S, Schiltenwolf M. Occupations associated with a high risk of self-reported back pain: representative outcomes of a back pain prevalence study in the Federal Republic of Germany. Eur Spine J.2006;15(6):821-833. Steffens D, Ferreira ML, Latimer J, Ferreira PH, Koes BW, Blyth F Maher CG (2015). What triggers an episode of acute low back pain? A case-crossover study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken), 67(3), 403-410. Yang H, Haldeman S, Lu M, Baker D. Low back pain prevalence and related workplace psychosocial risk factors: A study using data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2016;39(7):459-472. Roman-Liu D, Kamińska J, Kokarski T. Effectiveness of workplace intervention strategies in lower back pain prevention: a review. Ind Health.2020;58:503-519. Schaafsma FG, Anema JR, van der Beek AJ. Back pain: prevention and management in the workplace. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol.2015;29(3):483-494. Sowah D, Boyko R, Antle D, Miller L, Zakhary M, Straube S (2018). Occupational interventions for the prevention of back pain: Overview of systematic reviews. J Safety Res, 77, 39-59. Verbeek JH, Martimo KP, Karppinen J, Kuijer P, Viikari-Juntura E, Takala EP (2011). Manual material handling advice and assistive devices for preventing and treating back pain in workers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (6). Steffens D, Maher CG, Pereira LS, Stevens ML, Oliveira VC, Chapple M,Hancock MJ (2016). Prevention of low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med, 176(2), 199-208. Bell JA, Burnett A. Exercise for the primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of low back pain in the workplace: a systematic review. J Occup Rehabil.2009;19(1):8-24. van Poppel MNM, Hooftman WE, Koes BW. An update of a systematic review of controlled clinical trials on the prevention of back pain at the workplace. Occup Med (Lond).2004;54(5):345-352. Gross DP, Battié MC. Functional capacity evaluation performance does not predict sustained return to work in claimants with chronic back pain. J Occup Rehabil.2005;15(3):285-294. Gross DP, Asante AK, Miciak M, Battié MC, Carroll LJ, Sun A, Mikalsky M, Huellstrung R, Niemeläinen R. Are performance-based functional assessments superior to semistructured interviews for enhancing return-to-work outcomes. Arch Phys Med Rehabil.2014;95(5):807-815. Schultz IZ, Chlebak CM, Stewart AM. Impairment, disability, and return to work. In IZ Schultz & RJ Gatchel (eds.), Handbook of Return to Work, Handbooks in Health, Work, and Disability, pp.3-25. New York: Springer, 2016. Kristman VL, Shaw WS, Boot CRL, Delclos GL, Sullivan MJ, Ehrhart MG et al. Researching complex and multi-level workplace factors affecting disability and prolonged sickness absence. J Occup Rehabil.2016;2:399-416. Cullen KL, Irvin E, Collie A, Clay F, Gensby U, Jennings PA, Hogg-Johnson S, Kristman V, Laberge M, McKenzie D, Newnam S, Palagyi A, Ruseckaite R, Sheppard DM, Shourie S, Steenstra I, Van Eerd D, Amick BC 3 rd, Effectiveness of workplace interventions in return-to-work for musculoskeletal, pain-related, and mental health conditions: an update of the evidence and messages for practitioners. J Occup Rehabil.2018;28(1):1-15. Williams-Whitt K, Bültmann U, Amick III B, Munir F, Tveito TH, Anema JR et al. Workplace interventions to prevent disability from both the scientific and practice perspectives: A comparison of scientific literature, grey literature, and stakeholder observations. J Occup Rehabil.2016;26:417-433. Nicholas MK, Linton SJ, Watson PJ, Main CJ, et al. Early identification and management of psychological risk factors (“yellow flags”) in patients with low back pain: a reappraisal. Phys Ther.2011;91(5):737-753. Shaw WS, van der Windt DA, Main CJ, Loisel P, Linton SJ, et al. Early patient screening and intervention to address individual-level occupational factors (“blue flags”) in back disability. J Occup Rehabil.2009;19(1):64-80. Nicholas MK, Costa DSJ, Linton SJ, Main CJ, Shaw WS, Pearce G et al. Implementation of early intervention protocol in Australia for ‘high risk’ injured workers is associated with fewer lost work days over 2 years than usual (stepped) care. J Occup Rehabil.2020;30(1):93-104. Hill JC, Whitehurt DGT, Lewis M, Bryan S, Dunn KM et al. Comparison of stratified primary care management for low back pain with current best practice (STarT Back): a randomized controlled trial. Lancet.2011;378(9802):1560-1571. Dasinger LK, Krause N, Thompson PJ, Brand RJ, Rudolph L. Doctor proactive communication, return-to-work recommendation, and duration of disability after a workers’ compensation low back injury. J Occup Environ Med.2001;43(6):515-525. Kosny A, Franche RL, Pole J, Krause N, Côté P, Mustard C. Early healthcare provider communication with patients and their workplace following a lost-time claim for an occupational musculoskeletal injury. J Occup Rehabil.2006;16(1):27-39. Hoefsmit N, Houkes I, Nijhuis FJN. Intervention characteristics that facilitate return to work after sickness absence: a systematic literature review. J Occup Rehabil.2012;22(4)462-477. Norlund A, Ropponen A, Alexanderson K. Multidisciplinary interventions: review of studies of return to work after rehabilitation for low back pain. J Rehabil Med.2009;41(3):115-121. AUTHOR William S. Shaw, Ph.D., Associate Professor Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine University of Connecticut School of Medicine Farmington, CT, USA REVIEWERS Chris J. Main, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology Keele University Keele, North Staffordshire, UK Michael K. Nicholas, Ph.D., Professor Pain Management Research Institute University of Sydney Sydney, New South Wales, Australia : Back Pain in the Workplace – International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)

You might be interested:  How To Stop Ant Bite Pain?

Is it OK to work with lower back pain?

Article Sections – As many as 90 percent of persons with occupational nonspecific low back pain are able to return to work in a relatively short period of time. As long as no “red flags” exist, the patient should be encouraged to remain as active as possible, minimize bed rest, use ice or heat compresses, take anti-inflammatory or analgesic medications if desired, participate in home exercises, and return to work as soon as possible.

  • Medical and surgical intervention should be minimized when abnormalities on physical examination are lacking and the patient is having difficulty returning to work after four to six weeks.
  • Personal and occupational psychosocial factors should be addressed thoroughly, and a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program should be strongly considered to prevent delayed recovery and chronic disability.

Patient advocacy should include preventing unnecessary and ineffective medical and surgical interventions, prolonged work loss, joblessness, and chronic disability. The management of low back pain and determining the patient’s safe return to work are common issues encountered by family physicians.

  • Challenges include unfamiliarity with the patient’s job demands, complex workers’ compensation systems, and a vast array of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions with questionable effectiveness and value.
  • The objectives of this article are to encourage conservative care in patients with occupational nonspecific low back pain (i.e., pain occurring predominantly in the lower back without neurologic involvement or serious pathology 1 ), to promote early return to work, and to prevent prolonged disability.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4.2 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported by private industries in 2005.2 Sprains and strains accounted for approximately 42 percent of injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work.2 The body part most often involved in these injuries was the trunk, and 63 percent of injuries to the trunk involved the spine.2 Workers’ compensation systems cover 127 million U.S.

workers.3 The estimated annual cost for all occupational injuries and deaths is $128 billion to $155 billion, 4 and the estimated annual cost for back pain is $20 billion to $50 billion.5 Lumbar injuries result in approximately 149 million lost work days per year; about two thirds of these days are caused by occupational injuries.6 The annual productivity losses resulting from lost work days are estimated to be $28 billion.6 From 1991 to 2001, individual indemnity and medical costs increased by 39 percent and 62 percent, respectively, despite significant decreases in the rates of injuries and illnesses and in the number of lost work days.7 In addition, patients covered by workers’ compensation plans have more office visits, hospital admissions, treating physicians, diagnostic referrals, and therapeutic procedures, and longer duration of care compared with patients covered by other forms of insurance.7 Factors that may contribute to these rising costs include lack of managed care involvement, patients’ freedom to choose their treating physician, lack of deductibles and copayments, increased cost of prescription drugs, and an increased number of persons who continue to work into their retirement years.

You might be interested:  How To Treat Protein Overload Hair?

California’s workers’ compensation data from 1993 to 2000 indicated that indemnity costs increased eightfold when there was legal involvement.7 Most patients with low back pain recover within four to six weeks, 8 and 80 to 90 percent improve within three months regardless of treatment modality.5, 9 However, the 10 percent of patients who develop chronic low back pain (i.e., pain lasting more than three months) account for 65 to 85 percent of the costs.5, 6 After an episode of nonspecific low back pain, 20 to 44 percent of patients have a recurrence within one year, and up to 85 percent have a recurrence during their lifetime.8 – 11 The cause of low back pain cannot be clearly identified in 90 percent of patients.9, 10 Some physical demands, including manual lifting, bending, twisting, and whole body vibration, are associated with an increased likelihood of low back pain.11 It should be noted that association is not equivalent to causation.

Can sitting for 8 hours a day cause back pain?

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain, cause increased stress of the back, neck, arms and legs and can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Additionally, sitting in a slouched position can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs. Here are some important guidelines to help make sure your work area is as comfortable as possible and causes the least amount of stress to your spine:

Elbow measure Begin by sitting comfortably as close as possible to your desk so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine, Rest your hands on your work surface (e.g. desktop, computer keyboard). If your elbows are not at a 90-degree angle, move your chair either up or down. Thigh measure Check that you can easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the leading edge of the chair. If it is too tight, you need to prop your feet up with an adjustable footrest. If there is more than a finger width between your thigh and the chair, you need to raise the desk/work surface so that you can raise your chair. Calf measure With your buttocks against the chair back, try to pass your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your chair, If you can’t do that easily, the chair is too deep. You will need to adjust the backrest forward, insert a lumbar support or get a new chair. Lower-back support Your buttocks should be pressed against the back of your chair, and there should be a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly so that you don’t slump forward as you tire. This support is essential to minimize the load (strain) on your back. Never slump or slouch in your chair, as this places extra stress on your spine and lumbar discs. Eye level Close your eyes while sitting comfortably with your head facing forward. Slowly open your eyes. Your gaze should be aimed at the center of your computer screen, If your computer screen is higher or lower than your gaze, you need to either raise or lower it. If you wear bifocal glasses, you should adjust the computer screen so that you do not have to tilt your neck back to read the screen, or else wear full lens glasses adjusted for near vision. Armrest Adjust the armrest of your chair so that it just slightly lifts your arms at the shoulders, Use of an armrest allows you to take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders, and it should make you less likely to slouch forward in your chair. While this article is about traditional chairs, some people prefer more active chairs, such as a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball. Traditional chairs are designed to provide complete support, but a kneeling chair promotes good posture without a back support, and an exercise ball helps develop your abdominal and back muscles while you sit. It is advisable to first talk with your doctor prior to using one of these types of chairs if you have an injured back or other health problems. Finally, no matter how comfortable you are at your desk, prolonged, static posture is not good for your back, Try to remember to stand, stretch and walk at least a minute or two every half hour, Moving about and stretching on a regular basis throughout the day will help keep your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons loose, which in turn will help you feel more comfortable, more relaxed and more productive.

What happens when you sit for 8 hours a day?

When you sit, you use less energy than you do when you stand or move. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and unhealthy cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome.

  1. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  2. Any extended sitting — such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen — can be harmful.
  3. Researchers analyzed 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels.

They found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that posed by obesity and smoking. However, unlike some other studies, this analysis of data from more than 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting.

  • Other studies have found that for people who are most active sitting time contributes little to their risk of death.
  • Overall, research seems to point to the fact that less sitting and more moving contribute to better health.
  • You might start by simply standing rather than sitting when you have the chance.

Or find ways to walk while you work. For example:

  • Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching television.
  • If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.

Why does my back hurt when I’m at work?

Back pain and stress – We typically talk about back pain as mid-back and low-back pain. Over time, both affect your posture and the way you walk, which can lead to pain in the hips, knees, and feet. Mid-back pain includes muscles that are affected by breathing, including the chest and shoulder muscles.

When you’re stressed, your breathing patterns change and cause strain and tension in the mid-back. Your shoulders hunch up and cause pain throughout the upper and middle back. Low-back pain includes the tailbone and lower half of the back muscles. These muscles affect flexibility and posture. Many people become more sedentary during periods of stress, which means they stretch and exercise less.

For example, sitting at your desk for several hours a day when you’re swamped at work can strain the spine and low-back muscles. Related reading: Back in action: Updated treatment recommendations for lower-back pain Along with stress, common causes of spine pain include obesity, poor workstation ergonomics, and lack of exercise.

However, we believe that all aspects of a patient’s health should be considered as parts of a whole rather than individual ailments. Patients with back pain are treated at UT Southwestern’s Spine Center by a multidisciplinary team that includes a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, a pain management expert, a neurosurgeon, and an orthopedic spine surgeon.

We work closely with ergonomics-certified physical therapists to help you achieve and maintain healthy posture and movement habits at work and at home. How To Prevent Back Pain At Work

Is back pain a red flag?

Other constitutional symptoms – Perform a complete review of systems on all patients presenting with low back pain, giving special attention to those with unexplained weight loss, night pain, or pain at rest. In general, unintentional weight loss requires a workup for malignancy; however, when it is accompanied by back pain it is particularly worrisome for metastatic disease.

How long can you take off work for back pain?

Factors that influence the duration of sick leave due to low-back pain

Factors that influence the duration of sick leave due to low-back pain
At a glance:
Certain risk factors have been identified which predict whether sick leave from low back pain is likely to be long term. Some of these factors identified in this study include: How much sick leave the person expected to need Whether they were treated by a doctor Whether their mobility was reduced Whether they reported job stress This study showed that a questionnaire on the first day of sick leave can give an idea of how long the person is likely to be absent from work.
Perspectives:
Employee
Most patients recover from back pain within a few weeks, but pain can last much longer. Unfortunately, the longer a person is on sick leave, the less likely they are to return to work. Most people recover from back pain within four weeks without any special treatment, and studies have identified differences between those who recover and those who remain on sick leave. People are at higher risk of long term sickness absence if their mobility is reduced. You can’t change your level of pain, however, you can decide to remain active, and this will lower your risk of becoming disabled. Light exercise and stretching can be helpful. People are also at risk of long term sickness absence if they expect to be on sick leave for more than 10 days. Expectation about sick leave can come for your level of discomfort, or from your job conditions. Talk to your employer about accommodating your injury in the workplace, or temporarily reducing your hours, so that you feel comfortable returning to work as early as possible. People are at risk of sickness absence if they have heavy lifting duties or job stress. People responsible for heavy lifting may find it difficult to return to work because of the physical demands of their job. If you have a back condition and do heavy lifting, discuss return to work options with your treating practitioner. It’s important to recognise that job stress is a problem in itself and can reduce your chances of returning to work. If you are stressed at work, speak to your doctor, employer, or someone you trust about how you might be able to make it easier to cope. If any of these risk factors sound like you, it’s worth speaking to your treating health professional to get some advice.

/td>

Employer
This study showed that most people recover from back pain within four weeks without any special treatment. It identified differences between those who recovered and those who remained on sick leave.1. People are at risk of disability if they expect to be on sick leave for more than 10 days.2. People are at risk of disability if they do heavy lifting.3. People are at risk of disability they are stressed at work. If you can help your injured workers get back to work earlier, it’s likely to help them recover more quickly. Offer modified work duties or hours, or a temporary job as an alternative to heavy lifting. It’s important to recognise that job stress is a real issue and can affect physical health. Anything that can be done to reduce stress valuable.

/td>

Treater
Some disability risk factors are well-understood, and identifying whether these are present (perhaps by questionnaire) at the beginning of absence can show if there is a risk of long term sick leave. It is important to assure patients that people normally recover from back pain quickly, and that remaining active will help them recover, not make their problem worse. If possible, take the time to communicate with the patient about the causes of their back pain, and give them whatever advice you can on how to get back to work.

/td>

Insurer
The longer a person remains on sick leave from work-related low back pain, the more compensation and treatment costs they generate. Interventions for low back pain can reduce costs and personal suffering. Most people recover from back pain without treatment. This study identified some risk factors for disability, and showed that a short questionnaire given in the first few days of sick leave can identify those at risk. Once identified, those at risk of disability can be treated early, reducing sick leave and hence costs. It may be worthwhile to incorporate a short questionnaire into routine compensation claims, to identify cases where more communication and more assistance will be necessary.

/td>

/td> Original Article, Authors & Publication Details: Ivan A. Steenstra, 1, 2 Fieke S. Koopman, 1,2 Dirk L. Knol, 3 Eric Kat, 4 Paulien M. Bongers, 1,2 Henrica C.W. de Vet, 5 and Willem van Mechelen 1,2 (2005). Prognostic factors for duration of sick leave due to low-back pain in Dutch health care professionals. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation; 15(4):591.1 Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam,2 [email protected], Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health TNO, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam,3 Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam,4 Occupational Health Services, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam,5 EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Background, Study Objectives, How It Was Done: The longer a person remains on sick leave from work-related low back pain, the more compensation and treatment cost they generate. To control costs and personal suffering, we need to identify risk factors for disability, so that intervention can be targeted where it is most needed. Previous research has suggested that age, gender, level of disability, heaviness of work, social isolation and compensation status can all affect duration of sick leave in cases of low back pain. Workers’ self-reports of their psychosocial environment can be used to predict long-term sick leave. Psychosocial risks for disability include job circumstances, strategies for coping with pain and recovery expectations. This study aimed to determine factors that influence sick leave duration in cases of low back pain.615 workers who reported sick leave from low back pain within a 2 year period were included in the study. All participants were employees of an Amsterdam university hospital.64% of the study participants were female and the average age was 42. After calling in sick, workers were asked to complete a standard sick leave questionnaire and return it to the hospital within 2 days. The questionnaire asked 10 questions about the patients’ reason for sick leave, expectations about recovery and use of health care services. Outcomes were measured from the patients’ employment records over the six months following the beginning of sick leave. They were: Return to work – duration of sick leave during the 6 month follow-up period Lasting return to work – days on sick leave until returning to work for four continuous weeks Study Findings: Course of low back pain: 11% of all sick leave was due to musculoskeletal disorders. The average time taken to return to work was 5 days.90% of workers recovered after 4 weeks, and 95% after 3 months.3% of workers still hadn’t returned six months after sick leave began. The average time taken to return to work was 6 days.87% had a lasting return to work by 4 weeks, and 94% by 3 months.4% of workers hadn’t had a lasting return to work six months after sick leave had begun.87% had less than 28 days of sick leave. Factors predicting delayed return to work Employees took to longer to return to work if: They predicted they would take more than 10 days to return to work Their sick leave was caused by: * Work * Heavy lifting * Job stress Their mobility was limited by their condition They were admitted to hospital They were a maintenance worker Some of these factors had more or less effect when they occurred together.

A worker was at highest risk of delayed return to work (10 times greater risk than workers without risk factors)if they: A worker was at highest risk of delayed lasting return to work (10 times greater risk than workers without risk factors) if they: Factors predicting more days on sick leave: They were a maintenance worker

1. Expected to stay on sick leave for more than 10 days 2. Were treated by a GP or medical specialist 1. Expected to stay on sick leave for more than 10 days 2. Reported job stress as a reason for taking sick leave Workers had more days on sick leave if: They were older They predicted they would take more than 10 days to return to work They saw a GP or specialist for their condition Their condition was due to work Their condition was due to heavy lifting They were admitted to hospital Their mobility was limited by their condition Conclusions: Interventions for low back pain can be targeted to people at risk of remaining on long-term sick leave. A short questionnaire completed by injured workers at the beginning of sick leave could identify people at risk of longer absence. Most people recover from back pain and get back to work within 4 weeks. It is uncommon for workers to remain on sick leave for more than 6 months. The strongest risk factor for delayed return to work identified in this study was the workers own prediction of a need for more than 10 days leave. Workers who reported that their condition was due to job stress returned to work as quickly as others, but took longer to have a lasting return to work. References:

/td>

Factors that influence the duration of sick leave due to low-back pain

Is it better to sit or stand with lower back pain?

How to relieve the pain – If you’re experiencing back pain when sitting, your impulse may be to lie down and then try to slowly progress back to sitting, says Dr. Atlas. But this is the wrong approach. You should lie down to relieve the pain, but the goal should be not to return to sitting, but rather to regain your ability to stand and move.

How can I strengthen my back from sitting all day?

Tips for staying active while working from home – With the coffee pot only steps from your seat, you may find that you move less when working from home. Incorporating the seven easy seated stretches once an hour is a great start. But, consider some of our other favorite tips to get active and stay active during your day.

Get Moving Getting moving may look different for everyone. This may mean doing your workout mid-day instead of in the morning. Or try blocking your calendar for a short walk around your house or outside every couple of hours.15 minutes of light exercise can make a big difference in heart health, posture, fatigue, mood, and brain function.

Change Your View Having something else to look at while you work can make a world of difference. Try working at your table for an hour instead of your desk. Or, pause and check out what the weather is like on the way to refill your water bottle. Try a Virtual Walking Club Do you struggle with accountability? Try setting up a virtual walking club with your teammates.

  • Help hold each other accountable for taking short walking breaks.
  • Set up a weekly competition or accountability partners.
  • Whatever you do, make it fun and motivating.
  • Stand, Strengthen, Balance On calls all day? Use that time to get moving.
  • Standing can help to relieve tension from your back and get your blood pumping.

Keep a set of weights or bands close to your desk and get in a few bicep curls or squats. Work on balance challenges like tree pose or wall sits to help improve posture and stability. No matter what you choose, we recommend you turn off your video for these activities. How To Prevent Back Pain At Work No matter how you move your body during the day, the key is to do something regularly. Incorporating these sevensix simple stretches while seated at your desk can go a long way in reducing the effects of sitting on the body. Not sure where to start on your exercise plan? Need a little help with the desk stretches? has got you covered.

How can I strengthen my back from sitting all day?

Tips for staying active while working from home – With the coffee pot only steps from your seat, you may find that you move less when working from home. Incorporating the seven easy seated stretches once an hour is a great start. But, consider some of our other favorite tips to get active and stay active during your day.

Get Moving Getting moving may look different for everyone. This may mean doing your workout mid-day instead of in the morning. Or try blocking your calendar for a short walk around your house or outside every couple of hours.15 minutes of light exercise can make a big difference in heart health, posture, fatigue, mood, and brain function.

Change Your View Having something else to look at while you work can make a world of difference. Try working at your table for an hour instead of your desk. Or, pause and check out what the weather is like on the way to refill your water bottle. Try a Virtual Walking Club Do you struggle with accountability? Try setting up a virtual walking club with your teammates.

Help hold each other accountable for taking short walking breaks. Set up a weekly competition or accountability partners. Whatever you do, make it fun and motivating. Stand, Strengthen, Balance On calls all day? Use that time to get moving. Standing can help to relieve tension from your back and get your blood pumping.

Keep a set of weights or bands close to your desk and get in a few bicep curls or squats. Work on balance challenges like tree pose or wall sits to help improve posture and stability. No matter what you choose, we recommend you turn off your video for these activities. How To Prevent Back Pain At Work No matter how you move your body during the day, the key is to do something regularly. Incorporating these sevensix simple stretches while seated at your desk can go a long way in reducing the effects of sitting on the body. Not sure where to start on your exercise plan? Need a little help with the desk stretches? has got you covered.

How can I strengthen my back while sitting?

The Seated Twist – This one provides a great “squeeze” for the muscles and decompresses that aching lower back. Sit in your chair with your feet flat and parallel. Keep your knees directly above your ankles. Then, lift your chin parallel to the floor and guide your ears back over your shoulders.

What helps with sitting all day pain?

#3 Support your lower back when you sit – Supporting your lower back (lumbar) can help alleviate pain associated with sitting for long periods at home or school. Dr. Winter Ball, DPT, teaches his patients to “place a small rolled up blanket or towel between your lower back and the chair backrest”.