Back injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries. They can occur from lifting, repetitive movements or even from sitting at your desk all day. Anyone who has experienced a back injury can tell you, no matter how small it is, it can make your day dreadful and difficult. The best remedy for a back injury is prevention. Here are some tips to help you keep your back strong and healthy!
Arrange your work space
If you work at a desk, the first thing you need to do is audit your space. Make sure your computer monitor is pushed back, and that your keyboard, mouse, and seat are all positioned properly. If you use your telephone and write at the same time, consider purchasing a headset. This will eliminate you having to hold the phone between your head and shoulder. If you’re storing supplies keep the heaviest objects at a mid-height, and the lighter objects stored higher or lower. The less you need to twist or strain your body the better.
Watch your posture
Sit and stand up straight! When you are standing, your weight should be evenly distributed on your feet. Make sure your shoulders, hip and ankles are all aligned. Whether your sitting in a chair at your desk, or in the seat of your vehicle, make sure it is well adjusted. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, and your feet should rest flat on the ground. Don’t sit on your wallet or your keys, that slight imbalance puts extra pressure on your lower back and hips.
Whether you’re sitting for long hours or doing repetitive motions, make sure you stretch. Take a small walk and gently stretch your muscles to help elevate tension. Try some of these stretches when you’re at home or in your truck tonight.
Strengthen your core
Focus on strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. Walking, swimming and aerobics can all help with this, as well as some good old-fashioned sit ups. A stronger core increases the support given to your back and can help you maintain better posture. It also helps to increase your balance and your risk of falling or injuring your back.
Stress causes your muscles to tension, making sudden movements or performing physically demanding tasks under stress can increase your chances of straining or pulling a muscle. Even if you’re under a tight deadline, try to remain calm, breathe deeply and move with ease.
When you are lifting an object, bend those knees! Use your leg muscles, not your back muscles. Make sure you tighten your core muscles to give your back extra support. Keep the objects as close to your body as possible and maintain the natural curve in your back.
Maintain healthy diet and weight
Easier said than done, we know. Maintaining a healthy weight has many benefits, it helps with your posture, balance and stress levels, all factors we that help prevent back injuries. It also simply reduces the weight that is placed on your bones and limbs. Make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D; these nutrients help keep your bones strong and reduce your chances of getting osteoporosis.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employer or supervisor questions! If you’re unsure how to perform a task in a safe manner –just ask. Many back injuries are a result of not performing a task properly, or not having the necessary equipment. There is no harm in asking!
Having a back injury can be extremely painful and restricting. Although minor aches and pains may seem like nothing, over time repeatedly making improper movements, and ignoring your body can result in a larger issue. While at home, on the road or at your workplace, do what you can to prevent unnecessary back injuries! For more in-depth information on how to make your work space more body friendly click here .