Protect Your Back at Work on World Spine Day
Chiropractor Rosie Pearce has some advice for different work settings.
It’s world spine care day today, so we thought we would share with you some of the ways you can look after your back at work and prevent back pain!
Even if you suffer with back pain, you are more likely to get better faster if you stay at work, rather than having time off – and at the end of the day, we would all rather enjoy our days off, rather than be stuck at home on the sofa not doing anything!
Office Based – Back Care
Get up! Moving around is the best way to look after yourself if you spend all day at a desk. Try standing up whenever you answer the phone, or walking to the toilets furthest away from your desk. You could also try a standing desk, if your employers will permit it.
Ergonomic chairs are really good, but the evidence suggests that there isn’t actually one perfect position, and that movement is best, so try adjusting your chair every once in a while so that your body doesn’t get stuck in one position.
Here’s an exercise you can do as well to improve your posture:
With your feet flat on the floor, knees at 90 and hips at 90, tilt your pelvis forwards, so that the arch in your low back is increased, roll the shoulders back and down so that you stick your chest out in front of you. Your hands should be by your sides, so turn them so that the palms face forwards and hold for a count of ten, return to your work, and you will find that you naturally maintain some of this posture.
Repeat every 20 minutes; set an alarm on your phone to remind you!
Manual Labour – Back Care
You are already super active which is good for your whole body! It is important though, to look after your body really well as you rely on it to work all the time. Think of yourself as a classic car or an athlete; both need a bit of fine tuning and for everything to work correctly.
Lifting technique is really important, because poor technique can damage your back.
Make sure that you bend from the knees and hips, keeping your back straight; this is easier when you know how to engage your core musculature, so make sure you are practicing this at home. Keep items close to your body as well – don’t stretch for them, as muscles are often weaker when stretched, so are more susceptible to injury.
If you work with others in a team, don’t be too proud to ask for help with anything awkward or too heavy, it might take 5minutes longer to get the item moved, but it could save you a much longer period of suffering. Use machinery if your employers have provided it – it is there for a reason!
Think about how you lay out your work day; if you have a few different jobs to do in your work day, try and break them up and alternate them throughout the day so you aren’t stuck in one position. This will give the muscles time to rest before you start again. Make sure you take regular breaks as well – a coffee or tea break always works well!
Mechanics – Back Care
If you are working underneath vehicles and find yourself twisting into awkward positions, try and alternate sides. Twist one way for 5-10minutes and then change over; again, make sure you are taking regular breaks in between.
Healthcare Professionals – Back Care
If you work in the caring industry, as a nurse or carer, make sure you are using hoists and so on to move patients, or get a colleague to help you. Just because you are looking after others, doesn’t mean you can abandon yourself. You need to be as healthy as possible to be able to best help your patients.
Teachers and TA’s – Back Care
Particularly if you work with primary school children, make sure you aren’t leaning over desks. Try squatting down to help them, not only will you protect your back but you will also get super strong legs!
Think about the way in which you work, and ask your chiropractor for more tips and tricks specifically for you – we are here to help!