3 Ways to Prevent Neck and Back Pain at Work
About 85 percent of Americans suffer from neck and back pain every day. It’s bad enough to try to deal with the pain at home, but many deal with it at work, too. If you’re one of them, these three tips can help you avoid neck and back pain like a pro.
What Causes Back and Neck Pain?
Back pain can be felt in the lower back, mid-back or almost to your shoulders. Some back pain happens when the muscles and ligaments connecting to the spine get overused or pulled the wrong way. Examples would be if you move into a strange position, change directions too quickly or lift something that’s too heavy. Other times, the pain might be caused by swelling in between the bones that make up the spine or if a bone moves out of place.
Neck pain can be felt near your shoulders, up your neck and can even feel like a headache at the back of your skull. Neck pain can be caused by the same things as back pain or because of swelling. It can also be caused by not standing or sitting properly or by tilting your head to one side or looking down for long periods of time.
Both types of pain can also be caused by other health conditions such as arthritis or weak bones.
How Do Neck and Back Pain Affect Your Work?
Neck and back pain can happen no matter what type of job you have. If you experience pain, you might not be able to sit or stand at work as long as you need to, or you may have to get help doing the things you usually handle by yourself. You might even miss work to stay home and try to find some relief.
How You Can Prevent Both at Any Job
1. Stay Well-Hydrated
You might already know how important it is to drink plenty of water, but you can also reduce back pain and neck pain by drinking water. The discs in your spine are mostly water, so if you keep them hydrated, it can help prevent pain and swelling that happens when they don’t have enough water. Water also helps your muscles and ligaments work better.
2. Carry Your Loads Evenly
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving files from one desk to another or if you’re carrying a 50-pound box across a warehouse. If the load is off to one side, it can strain your neck and back muscles and cause pain. Carry every load near the center of your body and directly in front of you. This may help reduce the stress on your muscles and ligaments and keep pain away.
3. Maintain the Right Reach
If you work at a desk or on the computer, make sure your mouse and keyboard are close to the edge of your desk so you don’t have to overreach. Adjust your chair so it’s the right height and you’re not bending forward or stooping down to type.
Use the same principles if your job requires driving. Adjust the seat and steering wheel so you can easily reach the wheel and all the tools or knobs for lights, turn signals and mirrors.
If your work requires lifting or moving things, don’t stand too far away from the object when you pick it up or move it. Give yourself enough room to move easily but not so much that you’ll strain your neck or back when you place the object in its place.
You don’t have to suffer from back or neck pain at work. For more pain relief tips or to speak with a neck or back pain specialist, contact Dr. Fayaz for help dealing with your spine pain.