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Back injury prevention: how to avoid back pain at work

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Angela Bonanno
Angela Bonanno's blog about health fitness and lifestyle
by archi (follow)
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Natural Cures & Prevention (140)      How To (64)     
Evidence suggests that the most common work injury is back injury and one of the leading causes of long-term sickness worldwide. That being said, most of the causes of back pain are actually easily preventable, especially those that arise from work related injury, including muscle strain, bad posture, and even stress. While most people will experience some degree of back pain in their lives, you can take measures to prevent back pain at work. Follow these simple tips for preventing back injuries from your workplace and protect your back and the rest of your body from sustaining life-altering issues.

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Stay active.
In general, the best suggestion for back injury prevention is simply to remain active at work and at home. When back issues begin to creep up, most people are tempted to just lie in bed and wait it out, but that does little to improve the situation and may even make it worse. The more you move, the more you are using and strengthening all of your muscles, particularly your back.

Low-impact exercise.
Keep in mind, you probably won’t want to begin a high intensity exercise program if you have already experienced a back injury or pain; however, you can effectively do some light stretching and other low intensity exercises.

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Take a break.
To prevent issues at work, be sure to get up and move at least once every hour or so to stimulate the muscles in your back and release tension that may cause damage. You may even consider doing some slow stretches, such as touching the toes, leaning from side to side, and even twisting to activate the muscles in your back.



Check your posture in an office chair.
One of the most common culprits of work-related back pain is spending too much time in an office chair. While you likely aren’t in a position to give up your desk job, you could practice some important techniques for relieving and protecting your back.

The most common factors that affect your back in your work station include:

• Seat posture
• Computer screen position
• Chair height
• Keyboard position
• Mouse position
• Desk equipment layout

To protect your back while you are seated at your desk, be sure to check all of these factors. You should be seated with both feet flat on the floor, screen positioned so that your head and neck may assume a comfortable position in line with the spine, and seat aligned so that you can comfortably reach all of your materials and equipment. You may also consider investing in a lumbar support to use when seated at your desk. Establishing proper alignment can also serve to remedy existing back issues.

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Maintain proper positioning.
Lifting or handling objects incorrectly is another common cause of workplace back injuries. Applying the proper positioning techniques is an effective way to prevent back pain and support healing. Before lifting, be sure to consider the following factors:

• Move slowly
• Begin in a good starting position
• Hold the load close to your waist
• Keep your back as straight as possible
• Avoid twisting or leaning
• Keep your head up in a neutral position
• Distribute the weight evenly
• Lift with your legs

Conclusion
Staying active, adjusting the way you sit, taking regular breaks, and maintaining proper positioning while lifting and doing other activities are the most effective suggestions for how to avoid back pain at work. Should you encounter an injury, though, it is important that you understand your benefits and coverage available through worker’s compensation. A back injury is a serious concern, so you may be eligible for wage replacement in more depending on the nature of the incidence. In any case, prevention is key, and taking care of your body is the best way to maintain a high level of overall health.

Related
Yoga practice for lower back pain
5 practical tips to reduce work related stress and tension

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