Back pain is caused by strained muscles, bad posture or stress, so prevention is key although it can’t always be avoided.  With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips for employees on preventing pack pain and if it does strike, how to deal with it.

General Prevention

Losing weight and staying active is the place to start for preventing back pain, as too much upper body weight can strain the lower back.  Wearing flat shoes with cushioned soles helps reduce pressure on your back, and do your best to reduce stress and tension.  There are specialised exercises you can do keep your back healthy, including anything that strengthens your back, legs or stomach.

At your Desk

If you use at a computer, back pain can be avoided by ensuring you are sitting in the right position and the desk is arranged correctly.  Good posture is essential, so sit up straight and make sure your lower back is supported.  If you have any worries about your workstation and seating position, ask your employer to arrange a workplace assessment.  It is also important to take breaks from your desk throughout the day; try to vary your activities and stay active.  Sitting in the same position for too long can cause the back to become stiff and tense, so take a break whenever possible. You can even exercise at work by using office fitness equipment and active seating ball chairs.

Lifting

If some of your job requires lifting, it is essential to know the correct method and technique for lifting and handling objects.  Be sure to keep your back as straight as possible, and avoid twisting or leaning sideways.  If you are ever unsure, speak to your employer about health and safety.

Treating Back Pain

 As a guide, back pain can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.  Most cases aren’t serious, and the only way to treat common back pain is to stay as active as possible, and take painkillers if needed.  Although you may feel like you want to stay still and lie down, by being immobile you are doing further damage to your back muscles and they will be more painful in the long term.  The best thing to do is to try to continue with normal everyday activities, including going to work.