Till now, we identified injuries caused due to falling, tripping, burning, getting in contact with heavy machines, and more at the workplace. But there is a less highlighted injury that can happen to any person at any workplace is back injuries. Back pain or pain in the backbone or pelvic bone is a common problem.
Pain in the back, dull, achy, sharp, or stabbing, is painful and frustrating. It makes it harder for a person to concentrate on their job. Careers like nursing, construction (labor work), factory work, or even an office employee experiences it.
Back injuries are among the most disabling injuries in the United States. Every day, we put our backs at stake in the workplace in several different ways, most of which are avoidable. Back injury prevention is crucial for everyone, whether you work at a desk in an office or manage a team of workers who regularly lift and move parcels in a warehouse.
As a result, if you do not get your back problems handled before it gets worse, you could end up paying out thousands of dollars in medical costs and healthcare visits. Preventing back pain begins with reducing your risk of sustaining a future back injury.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, almost 20% of back injuries happen at the workplace.
A worker’s ability to prevent back injuries can improve by following a few simple guidelines. But first, we should know the causes of back injuries.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF BACK PAIN?
Many things can cause back pain at work, including lifting heavy objects, repetitive twisting and rotating, and sitting for long periods with bad posture.
Many back problems can relate to poor flexibility, stressful lifestyles, and poor physical fitness. Apart from learning the proper lifting techniques, we should also work on improving our overall health. Workouts and flexibility are essential to your health. Any physical activity creates extra pressure on our joints and muscles, which increase the risk of injuries, especially as we get older.
80% of the population get affected by back pains of any sort in their lifetime. It is our responsibility to reduce the risk of getting a back injury. Among many possible causes of back pain, these few are discussed below.
- Age: Back pain assumes as a common problem of almost every individual. But the issue of back pains is increasing day by day even in youngers.
- Pregnancy: It is now an ordinary thing for a woman to have back pains during pregnancy. Again, the ratio of women is increasing who experience back pain. Today’s statistics show that back pain among women is not only associated with pregnancy. But the poor diet and daily activity is also the cause.
- Extra Weight: Millions of Americans are at risk due to their weight, which is also a significant risk factor. Health professionals have been raising the alarm for decades as millions of people gain weight every year. The number of overweight or obese people increasing since the late 90s. A little over two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese.
- Lack of Physical Activity: When an individual stop doing exercise or stop physical activity. It welcomes many problems relating to heart, weight, deficiencies, and most importantly backbone, and pelvic pains problems.
- Improper Lifting techniques: Increase your risk of injury due to improper lifting techniques. Using the wrong lifting technique can cause chronic back injuries in even the most experienced athletes and bodybuilders. Avoiding back injuries and chronic pain by knowing your limits when lifting heavy objects can help you avoid back injuries and chronic pain.
- Bad Habits: Like smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthy food are other causes of back pains, low or high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Because whatever we eat, it affects our bodies, that is why if you keep your body to be healthy, you need to eat healthily.
- Contact Sports: Certain sports could increase your risk for a back injury if you are not careful or mindful. While we are not stopping you from playing sports, know some of the threats that can bother you in the future. Contact sports like mixed-martial arts or limited-contact sports like hockey, football, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball could put you in harm’s way at a moment’s notice. Even trained athletes can seriously injure themselves due to tiny mistakes.
- Manual Material Handling: The risk of musculoskeletal injury is high for any worker who lifts or performs other manual handling tasks. An injury to the lower back is the most common. The risk can reduce but not discharged. Companies can reduce the number of injured workers by manual handling.
- Repetition or Routine: The cause of back pain does not need to be always heavy lifting. Many people felt back pain due to repetitive activities at offices and even at home. You must understand if you keep lifting a small amount of weight, regularly it can give you back pain.
- Genetics: It plays a significant role in all of our lives. If we have good height and physique, it is due to our genetic heritage. But if our family has issues with some diseases, then it is understood that we inherit them from them. Genetic back diseases can increase your risk as you age or be a concern throughout your lifetime. Although some back diseases can lead to a back injury, not all of them are fatal from the start.
PREVENTION OF BACK INJURIES:
Prevention of back injuries is necessary to avoid long-term chronic back pains.
ATTENTION TO THE POSTURE:
It is essential to keep your posture right. If you have to maintain balance for standing straight and evenly distributing your weight. Many of us faced back problems due to wrong sitting postures. A chair that supports your lower back will help you to keep a good posture while sitting. Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and that your thighs are parallel to the floor. For reducing pressure from your lower back, always remember to remove wallets and phones from your back pockets.
When lifting or carrying a heavy object, take a step forward, bend your knees, and tighten the stomach muscles. Your leg muscles will assist you as you get to your feet. As you carry the package, you keep it near your body. Maintain the natural curve of your spine. Avoid twisting when lifting. Help is necessary for the safe lifting of a heavy object.
MODIFY REPETITIVE TASKS:
When lifting heavy loads, use lifting devices. Check that all of your equipment is in the correct position if you use a computer system. A headset or speakerphone can use if you talk on the phone and type or write simultaneously. Do not overdo things yourself by bending, twisting, stretching, and extending your arms. Carry heavy bags or briefcases as little as possible.
Your overall health has an impact on your entire body. When you are not eating well, not moving, or stressed. All of those factors weigh on your body and can contribute to back pain. The best way to prevent a back injury in the workplace is to do what you can to keep healthy. A healthy body is less likely to sustain an injury and can heal much faster if you injure yourself. Here are a few healthy activities that can help prevent back injuries and back pain.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Stay active.
- Exercise regularly and take breaks to stretch and walk around if your job requires you to sit at a desk for prolonged periods.
- Maintain good eating habits.
- Get enough sleep and try to sleep in a posture that protects your back.
MANUAL MATERIAL HANDLING:
Identifying the MMH factors that make the worker more vulnerable to injury or directly contribute to injury is essential for preventing occupational back injuries. The reduction in injury rate can only work when efforts to prevention MMH injuries focus on only one risk factor. Success comes from combining knowledge of manual handling with engineering, the workplace culture, and abilities. Below are the following points.
- Organization of workflow.
- Job design/redesign (including the work environment).
- Education and training.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
To improve workplace culture and reduce the risks of back injuries a training and education of workers are essential. Among many procedures, the worker should know the open risk hazards at the workplace. And educate each worker regarding health and safety measures at the company.
Back pain and injuries are common but preventable. By taking a few precautions, maintaining your health, and investing in supportive tools like ergonomic chairs, you can work to prevent back injuries in the workplace.