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5 Ways To Prevent Backaches At Work

26 August 2022

We’ve all had long days at work which end with us clutching at our backs, cursing at our poor-quality office desks and lamenting our bad posture. Let’s solve this problem, once and for all.

What actionable steps can we take to prevent this from happening? Here are 5 ways to prevent backaches at work.

Lift Things Property

One of the biggest risks we face on a day-to-day basis with our backs is lifting objects with poor technique. A bad lift can instantly do damage to your back muscles, and can even cause permanent damage if done with enough strain.

Here are some tips for lifting correctly:

Firstly, get as low as you can before trying to lift it. Place your legs on either side of the desired object and bend your knees so you can utilise your core strength. Using your leg muscles as the primary means of movement, lift up the object and hold it close to your body.

Do not bend or stoop over the object. Maintain the curve that naturally forms on your back and - this point is pretty important - do not twist your back! Do not make sudden jerks and make sure each movement is deliberate.

Perhaps the biggest advice is to also know your limit. If it’s too heavy, ask someone else for some help. Even the strongest among us can’t lift everything!

Posture

One of the universal factors associated with backaches at work is improper conditions in the workplace – usually associated with office desks. In order to avoid straining your neck and your back, your computer screen should be centred in front of your eyes at an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should stay between 2-3 inches higher than your eye level.

Furthermore, your typing posture is also important to minimise prolonged backache. Often people will simply place their keyboard on top of their desk and not think about its placement.

If your keyboard is just below chest height, it could be causing significant damage to you in the long run. Typing at this height can limit blood circulation, cause stress in your wrists and potentially cause damage to your nerves.

This posture can result in a lack of feeling in your arms, shoulders and your back. Prolonged exposure to this unhealthy positioning can even cause carpal tunnel syndrome. So, what is there to do about all this? What if your desk is just not compatible with your body shape?

An excellent option to consider is a standing desk, like the ones from Flexispot, These provide a much greater variety in customisation to guarantee your desk actually suits you.

We spend so much time in our work environments and at our work desks, that it seems crazy to not invest more into them.

Standing desks allow you to change up your seated position, as well as rotate between a seated and standing position – giving you ample opportunity to stretch out your back and neck. This rotation also reduces the prolonged strain put on certain joints.

Once you make the transition away from a traditional sitting desk, it’ll be very hard to go back to one! Who knows, you might even end up getting one for your home office too!

Reduce Or Change Repetitive Tasks

Alternating the way in which you carry out repetitive tasks is a great way to limit strains on parts of your body, particularly your back. The most significant example of this has been covered in the previous section - when we looked at how sitting in the same position for long periods of time can affect your posture.

However, there are other tasks you should be conscious of too.

If you’re often on the phone, then you should think about getting a headset or placing your phone on speaker instead.

When we talk on the phone, we often assume a standard position for our hands and arms every single time. Prolonged exposure to this can create stiffness or discomfort throughout our upper body.

If your work requires regular carrying, then try to break up those actions throughout the day so you don’t have to bend, twist and reach for items consistently in a short period of time.

If this isn’t possible then you should ask for a lifting device to help limit the manual labour you’re doing.

Exercise More

It feels like every article we read will have this top tip in it. Exercise is an excellent contributing cure for a variety of long-term health issues because it strengthens and stretches our bodies. This can lead to an easing in muscle tension and inflammation.

The last thing on your mind when you have a backache might be to exercise. You might be right there, as it wouldn’t be wise to instantly start exercising after an injury. Rather, you should see that pain as a reason to start exercising after you’ve fully recovered.

Exercising won’t instantly cure the back pain you’re feeling, but it will prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Sleep Well

If back pain is a regular occurrence in your life, then you should also look at the way you’re sleeping. Certain positions that aren’t supported by our beds can cause pain throughout our bodies.

Try sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up towards your chest, or put one pillow under your knees and lower back. These positions give greater support to your joints and prevent undue strain from being put on them.

Lastly, think about if your mattress is actually appropriate for you. Often mattresses that are too soft can cause backaches, and the same is actually true of very hard mattresses.

Most experts vouch to go straight down the middle of these two extremes, and recommend a mattress with a medium level of firmness. This is definitely a good starting point if you’re struggling with bedtime backaches.

The Bottom Line

If you find your back starts aching after work, then have a browse at some of these ways to prevent future aches from occurring!