Eighty percent of people will likely have experienced back pain at some point in their lifetime. It is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor and miss work, and a prominent cause of disability. Although back pain is more prevalent in those middle aged and beyond, it can really present itself to anyone at any time. Unfortunately, back pain has a habit of rearing its ugly head in the workplace. It’s important to know what steps we can take to prevent a day in the office from landing us a doctor’s visit.
First off, how our workstations are configured can have a huge impact on back pain. If the position of your computer screen causes your head to tilt down or forward too much, it should be adjusted. Your chair should not be too low or too high, or lack low back support. Ideally, your elbows should be at ninety degree angles and your forearms horizontal when using your keyboard.
Performing daily tasks like answering your phone, typing from a document, moving boxes, etc. should all be done with extra thought. Don’t cradle the phone with your shoulder. Consider using a headset to allow any strain to be taken off muscles without losing the ability to multi-task. A document holder to prop your document up to type from prevents you from looking down constantly and eases strain. If you lift any heavy boxes, let your legs do the work.
Take regular breaks! It’s better to take frequent short breaks than a few long ones. Change things up by doing your filing or faxing and then getting back to your computer. Getting up for a drink or bathroom break also allows you to stretch out for a couple of minutes and can really make a big difference.
Other things like regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can all help to reduce the risk of developing back pain.
There is yet another option that you might want to consider if you or someone you love is suffering with low back pain. You may be eligible to participate in a research study at New England Research Associates. Study participants are closely evaluated board-certified physicians and other medical professionals and may even have access to new medications before they are on the market. Compensation is also available for time and travel expense.
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