Feel like you're carrying the world on your shoulders? You're not alone. According to Better Health Victoria, in 2011, one in seven Australians (14 per cent) reported having back problems. Back problems can be incredibly debilitating to daily life. Back injuries are most frequently obtained in the workplace, and aren't strictly reserved for those engaging in physical labour; office jobs are notorious for causing back pain, with the sedentary lifestyle proven to cause a plethora of health issues. While sitting at a desk all day is an unavoidable reality for many, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer.
What causes back pain?
Back pain is caused by a variety of factors, but the most significant contributors are lifestyle, being overweight, a lack of exercise, poor posture, stress or incorrect workplace practices.
There are a few steps that everyone can take to improve the health of their backs and relieve discomfort. Entity Solutions’ service provider BUPA kindly offer some tips on how you can strengthen your back and relieve the discomfort associated with back pain. The following tips can help you avoid the onset of back pain:
- Regular exercise - Improves posture and increases spinal muscle support. Physical activity for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week is recommended.
- Relax more, stress less - Stress tightens muscles. Find a relaxation technique that suits you. Try yoga, Pilates or meditation.
- Check your workstation set up – The top of your computer screen should be either at eye level or slightly lower. The keyboard should sit at the front edge of the desk and your elbows rest comfortably at your side. Chairs should be upright. Use a foot stool if necessary. Avoid cradling your phone between your head and shoulders.
- Learn to lift – Use trolleys, ask for help, hold objects close to your body and use your legs not your back to lift.
- Stand up straight – Suck in your belly button, pull your shoulders back and don’t slouch.
- Men – Don’t sit on your wallets for long periods.
- Women – Wear flat shoes and save the heels for special occasions.
- Take a break – When driving, sitting or standing for long periods. Use back support.
- Talk to your OH&S Representative – Get them to check your workstation and advise you on lifting techniques. They can assist you with setting up an ergonomic workstation, advising you on lifting techniques and more.
If you are concerned, consult your doctor
If you have followed these tips and still have back pain, if the pain carries on too long or if you are simply concerned, be sure to get it checked by a doctor.
To find out more about our IPro Services such as the Entity Solutions Bupa Corporate Health Plan, contact our IPro Services Manager via email at IProServices@entitysolutions.com.au.