How to Avoid Work-Related Back Pain and Injury This Summer

On-the-Job injuries can occur during the most mundane tasks, such as typing, making phone calls, and sitting at a desk all day. While certain occupations, such as construction, have a higher risk of serious injury and death, desk jobs can cause debilitating injuries that make doing your job painful, and even impossible. Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries, but it can be easily prevented by taking proper precautions and maintaining overall health. Whether working a construction job, an office job, or outside job this summer, in Massachusetts many workers in will injure their back and often times you won’t know how significant the injury can be.

Dull, achy back pain can make concentrating on your job a challenge. Sharp, stabbing back pain can be equally distracting. However, these uncomfortable feelings are often a precursor to something more serious. Left untreated, back pain can become progressively worse. Certain jobs, such as waiting tables, nursing, and factory work, have a high risk of back injury because they typically require hours of standing, lifting, bending, and other repetitive movements. Desk jobs can also result in severe back pain if a computer and keyboard are improperly positioned, or inappropriate posture is used.

What Are the Main Contributing Factors For Work-Related Back Pain?

Overexertion and force: Lifting and moving heavy objects is the number one cause of work-related back injury.

Repetitive movements: Repeating certain, awkward or strenuous movements can result in muscle fatigue and injury. For example, constantly bending over can damage the muscles in your lower back if not done properly.

Posture: Proper posture is essential to avoid back pain and injury. If you slouch at a computer for several hours a day, this will inevitably result in back pain. Slouching can affect the lower back, upper back, and neck muscles, causing strain or injury ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating pain and permanent damage.

Avoiding the common back injury causes above is paramount, but medical conditions and lifestyle play a significant role in back injury. If a worker is obese, in poor physical condition, overly stressed at home or work, or a smoker, he or she has a substantially increased risk of back pain and injury. Physical activity and strength training will go a long way towards keeping you healthy and preventing injury.

Make physical activity part of your daily routine. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise. Additionally, the department recommends strength training exercises at least twice weekly.

Watch your posture. Don’t slouch when sitting or standing. While standing, your weight should be evenly balanced between both feet. While sitting, your knees should be level with your hips and your feet should be flat on the floor. If this isn’t possible, you may need another chair. Added comforts such as a footstool (if your feet still don’t reach the ground) and a small pillow behind your lower back can help modify your chair.

Be careful when lifting. Always lift with your knees, focus on keeping your core muscles tight, and hold the object as close to your body as possible. If it’s too heavy, get help.

Find modifications for repetitive tasks. Jobs that require heavy lifting often have lifting devices available for use. If there are tools or devices to help you lift, push, pull, or carry, use them. Alternate the more physically demanding tasks with the less demanding tasks, when possible. If you sit at a desk all day, make sure that your screen, keyboard, headset, mouse, and chair are properly positioned.

Move. If you sit all day, it is important to get up periodically, stand, stretch, walk, or move in some way. Sitting in the same position all day is physically damaging even if you take all of the above precautions.

Altman & Altman LLP – Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

If you’ve been injured on the job, Altman & Altman LLP can help you determine the best way to move forward. Our team of skilled, knowledgeable attorneys will examine every detail of your case and implement the most effective strategy for your unique situation. For nearly 50 years, Altman & Altman LLP has been helping accident and injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. we are available around the clock to answer your questions- 617-492-3000.

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