Guest post by Ron Sanchez
Back pain can be incredibly debilitating, and it can also be caused by a working environment. The Mayo Clinic reports that repetition, posture and force are three elements which can affect your back throughout your work day. Luckily, there are some modifications you can make to your working environment to reduce the possibility of back injuries.
Improving Your Posture at Work
If you’re experiencing back pain, one of the first things you should look at is your sitting posture. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has specific standards for employees that work at a desk for this very reason. According to OSHA, your forearms and wrists should be straight and parallel to the ground. Your shoulders and arms should be relaxed, your head should be level and your feet should be either on the floor or on a foot rest. This position is meant to limit the stress on your joints and back.
Stretching at Your Desk
The Mayfield Clinic cites stretching as one way to keep your back healthy. There are many stretching exercises that you can do at your desk when you’re on a break. Standing at your desk, you can gently lean backward with your hands on your hips. Hold this position for a total of five seconds to stretch and exercise your back muscles. Touching your toes is another relaxing back exercise that could help you treat tight muscles.
Organizing Your Space
One of the best ways to avoid injury to your back is to avoid any heavy lifting. Oklahoma State University suggests that individuals reorganize their work area to ensure that heavy items don’t need to be lifted on a regular basis. If you absolutely do need to lift items, remember to lift with your legs and to keep your back straight at all times. When your back is tilted toward the ground, you place unnecessary stress on both your back muscles and spine. When lifting very heavy items, you should never hesitate to ask another employee to help.
Getting It Checked
If all else fails and you haven’t been able to resolve your back problems, you should consult a professional. Back problems that are left untreated could cause serious damage to your spinal column and nerves. You can go to a local chiropractor, general practice physician or even a national institute. Laser Spine Institute has five locations across the country and might be able to help find the source of your pain. Some injuries from your past work experiences that initially seem quite minor can end up causing back pain later in life.
It’s always best to take care of your back when you’re young. Many issues people experience later in life were actually developed in their youth. By taking care of your back, you can give yourself the gift of many healthy years in the future. If you do experience severe back pain regardless of these steps, you should always consult with your medical health professional as soon as possible
Ron Sanchez is a blogger for several fitness websites, and contributes a column to a widely known fitness magazine.