Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people take time off sick from work. Estimates say around three quarters of adult workers will experience back pain bad enough to make them miss work at some point in their lives.
The most common causes of back pain are carrying out the same task time and time again like lifting; bad posture, particularly while sitting at a desk; and an accident such as a slip, trip or fall.
To help you avoid suffering back pain and stop any pain becoming worse, we have put together our top ten tips to stop back pain at work and home.
1. Proper posture: Whether you spend long periods at work sitting or standing, maintaining a proper posture at all times is key. Keep your back straight and use extra support if needed
2. Workstation setup: You may be able to get a workstation assessment at your place of work to help you set up your desk, computer and chair correctly and avoid creating back problems
3. Regular exercise: Taking regular exercise keeps your back muscles and joints supple. It will also increase its strength and make you feel better overall. Stretch and take regular breaks at work if you can too
4. Being overweight is bad for your back: The strain on your back caused by being overweight can lead to long term back problems
5. Stub it out: It’s a little known fact that nicotine narrows the blood vessels meaning less blood flows to muscles so stopping smoking will help your back heal quicker
6. Lift objects properly: Bend from the knees not the back when lifting and don’t twist unnecessarily
7. The right mattress: Having the right mattress for your back at home can make a huge difference to your back. Make sure you change yours every couple of years too
8. Visit your GP if you have back pain: Your family doctor can tell you why you are experiencing back pain, as well as prescribe you the correct medication. There are over the counter remedies available as well but they may not be as effective
9. Explore other pain relieving techniques: Don’t be afraid to try other ways to stop back pain. Treatments like massage, acupuncture or yoga can work really well especially if it’s just your muscles that are sore. A chiropractor can provide a good solution too although we would recommend speaking to your GP about this first
10. Use common sense: Looking after your back really is about common sense. If you have to perform extra lifting or a repetitive task you don’t normally do, take the necessary precautions so you don’t damage your back. Sometimes, it could just be a simple adjustment to the way you do something that can help stop back pain from getting any worse.
Hopefully, our simple tips will give you an insight into how to prevent and cope with back pain. But if you have experienced back problems through your work, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, visit our dedicated website www.repetitive-straininjury.co.uk or call 0800 122 3130 to speak to a member of our helpful team.