Back problems can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Often times, back pain is the result of an everyday activity done incorrectly. These common activities consist of anything from sitting at a computer in the same position for hours, bending over to clean, carrying luggage, heavy lifting, golfing, etc. At some point or another, you have probably experienced some back pain. Experts found that four out of five people have experienced back issues, which makes it the second most common reason for visiting the doctor. Back problems can also stem from your lifestyle choices. For example, being overweight will make you more prone to back pain as opposed to someone who is a healthy weight. 

Workplace safety is a priority at Frontier Industrial Services. There are several things you can do to lessen the chance of experiencing back pain. These simple strategies are high important and surprisingly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning. 

Exercise : It may sound weird to recommend exercise when you are in pain from a back injury. Most would assume that the best way to heal is to rest and limit physical activity. Frankly, it turns out to be the opposite. Rest is always beneficial to help the body recover and gain it’s strength back. However, the quickest route to easing back pain is to actually do some physical activity. Experts recommend regularly fitting some working out into your schedule because it can help ease inflammation and muscle tension. However, it is important to be smart – don’t go out there and try to break your lifting record. Baby steps and taking it light is your best bet (at least when you are first starting). Good workouts to try are walking, swimming, and biking. Swimming is super helpful to try because the water supports your body, which takes a lot of pressure of your muscles and joints.

Watch your weight : Being overweight can make back pain worse for the fact that is shifts your center of gravity and puts strain on your lower back. A mix of exercise and a healthy diet is important to keep your body in check. Exercise is recommended at least three times per week as well as watching what you eat. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains will jeep you on track.

Stop Smoking : It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health for a variety of reasons. However, It’s not common knowledge that smoking could have any sort of impact on your back. When we think of the side effects of smoking, the first couple of things that comes to mind are usually cancer, heart disease, stroke, or lung disease. However, smoking does in fact impact one’s back and as a result can cause injuries. An explanation as to why this happens is because smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain. 

Sleeping Position : Do you ever wake up in the morning and just instantly feel sore? It probably has a lot to do with the way you position yourself, your mattress, and what pillow you use. Everyone is different when it comes to their sleep preferences. Talk to your doctor about the best sleep positions if you find you are constantly sore in the morning. Sleeping on your stomach can be especially hard on your back. You also don’t want to sleep flat on your back. The best position to sleep in is on your side. Getting enough sleep is also so crucial for your mental health and productivity the next day. 

Be aware of your Posture : The best chairs for preventing back pain is one that has a straight back. If you have a desk job that requires you to sit all day, it’s super important that the chair you are sitting in is comfortable and supportive. Make sure you rest your back against the chair and don’t sit hunched over your desk as this position will cause you some back pain. Also, try to get up and take breaks from sitting every so often. 

Be Careful Lifting Heavy Objects : When lifting heavy objects, your form is super crucial. You can risk a very serious injury if you try to lift something heavy with poor form. If something is too heavy for you to handle on your own, ask for help. 

Proper form when lifting heavy objects is so crucial to workplace safety. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you don’t injure yourself:

  1. Keep your feet a shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other 
  2. Squat down, bending the hips and knees only.
  3. Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, keep your back straight, chest out, and shoulders back. This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back. 
  4. Lift slowly by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Don’t twist when you lift and keep your back straight.
  5. Hold the object as close to your body as possible 
  6. Lead with your hips as you change direction and keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.
  7. Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only 

DO NOT :

  1. Attempt to lift by bending forward. 
  2. Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level
  3. Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object 

Reduce Stress : It’s inevitable that one will stress about something in their life. Financial issues, relationships, work, and much more are very common causes to create stress. You probably wouldn’t consider stress to be something that can cause you to have back pain. Many think that since stress happens internally it impacts you mentally, not physically. However there is a physical consequence – stress plays a big role on your back health. Stress causes you to tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Back pain and stress go hand and hand. Any activity that will help you reduce stress will help you prevent back pain.

Stress also is dependent on the kind of person you are. If you find yourself as the type of person who goes with the flow and handles challenges day by day, then you probably don’t experience too much stress. On the other hand, if you get easily stressed and overwhelmed over small things – your back may pay the price. Working out is a healthy way to manage stress and help control your emotions from taking over you. In addition, meditation, going for a walk, yoga etc. are all great coping mechanisms to help manage stress. In order to be your best, you have to feel your best. Stress is very draining to both your mental and your physical health. Knowing how to control it will help you be a more productive person. Talk to your doctor if you think stress is getting in the way of your life and holding you back from being your full potential.

In the construction industry, it is very easy to injure your back from the tasks you perform daily. Make sure to keep these strategies in mind to lessen the chance of experiencing back pain. Although some of these tips may seem small and unimportant, they can make a huge difference.

 

Article Adapted from : 

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/tips-for-pain-relief

https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/back-pain/quick-tips-to-help-prevent-back-pain.aspx

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw206944