How to Relieve Back Pain at Work
Back pain is very common and happens to almost everyone at some point in their lives. Not all back pain is age-related and can occur at any age for many different reasons.
It’s often not possible to identify the cause of back pain due to the amount of different factors that are involved. Sometimes the pain is from and injury due to a strain or sprain and is very rarely caused by anything serious
Sometimes back pain can be due to medical reasons such as a slipped disc or sciatica where the nerves in the back or down the leg can be irritated and cause neuropathic pain. Most back pain will begin to resolve within a week of onset and fully resolve in 4-6 weeks.
According to the NHS website, if you have any of the following symptoms with your back pain, you should call 111 or speak to your GP/healthcare professional urgently
- numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks
- difficulty peeing
- loss of bladder or bowel control – peeing or pooing yourself
- chest pain
- a high temperature
- unintentional weight loss
- a swelling or a deformity in your back
- it does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- it started after a serious accident, such as after a car accident
- the pain is so bad you’re having problems sleeping
- pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back, between your shoulders, rather than your lower back.
Common Causes of Back Pain
The spine is one of the strongest parts of the body and is an essential body part which gives you both strength and flexibility. As you grow older, your spine’s ligaments, joints and discs start to cause age related changes which may cause your spine to stiffen. This stiffness may result in ache and pains that can cause you problems at work.
One cause of back pain is due to inadequate posture whilst sitting and standing. Having good posture is essential as a lack of even support placed on your spine can create pressure on some parts of your back, causing it to disperse incorrectly forcing increased load through a certain point and this causing pain. If sitting too much at a desk then set an alarm and every 30 mins stand and stretch or move just to change position. Same if Standing long periods find time to rest for a couple of minutes to alleviate load.
Lifting heavy objects often leads to pain in the back, arms, and shoulders. Back pain is a common complaint for those who regularly perform manual handling duties at work, carry out DIY at home, or lift heavy weights at the gym. It is due to overloading the spine by placing too much load on it (too heavy) or lifting inadequately.
Lack of Exercise
Another cause of back pain is a lack of exercise. The less active you are, the more likely your back pain will worsen as the muscles in your spine and back will be weaker. Without frequent movement, you may develop chronic back pain.
Causes of Back Pain at Work
Back pain at work is often caused by an employer’s or employee’s negligence. If your employer does not explain the safety precautions at your workplace, you could get injured. Many work-related accidents, such as, the provision of inadequate work equipment, manual handling accidents, falling from heights, being hit by falling objects and slips or trips, can cause back injuries which may cause you to require long periods of time off work.
Poor posture may come from bad quality office chairs at work which have no adjustable back or neck support. Adequate support is required so the spine is kept in a neutral position so that its not overloaded causing pain. Poor quality office chairs may cause strain and increase the chances of the employees developing back pain and problems.
Back pain can also arise if chairs, desks, and screens are not at the correct height. If you have any concerns about your work space/desk, your Occupation Health team should do an ergonomic assessment to ensure your risk factors for developing pain are low.
Those who work in jobs which involve manual handling tasks are at risk of sustaining a back injury at work. Your employer has a duty to minimize your risk of injury whilst at work by providing appropriate training, creating risk assessments, and providing adequate lifting equipment if required.
Accidents at Work
Workplace accidents can result in various injuries, including back pain. Accidents at work may arise due to poor housekeeping, poor systems of work, or inadequate health and safety precautions.
How to relieve back pain at work
· Pain relief, such as anti-inflammatory medication may help to alleviate some of the pain you are experiencing.
· Heat and cold can both be useful to manage pain.
· Over the counter topical creams like ibuprofen gel, deep heat, Volterol, Biofreeze and Tiger Balm will all work to help ease pain
· Your G.P. or physiotherapist may advise you to exercise to relieve your back pain. People often worry that exercise will make the pain worse; however, by continually exercising and keeping the blood flow moving, you will be strengthening your muscles and keeping your joints loose. This will help in preventing back pain from getting worse and will speed up recovery.
· You should always consult with your G.P. or physiotherapists to find out which exercises will help alleviate your pain, and which exercises you should avoid. Exercise such as swimming, walking, yoga and going to the gym are good for back pain.
· In contrast, your G.P. or physiotherapist may also advise you to avoid doing activities that bring on your back pain but encourage other forms of exercise.
· Back pain is irritable and can have a negative effect on your emotions. Evidence shows that you will have a quicker recovery if you have a positive emotional response to your back pain, which is why you should try to understand your pain and time frames to recovery, what to do if its not getting better. This will then allow you to better cope with pain.
· Making small adjustments, such as paying attention to your posture may significantly improve any back pain at work you are experiencing.
· If you are struggling at work with back pain, you should talk to your employer. This may help people who have more active jobs, as they will be able to discuss alternative options, such as reducing the amount of heavy lifting or doing lighter duties and fewer hours on their feet. If your job has a health adviser, they can advise on what work you are fit to do and arrange adjustments to help you cope and stay at work. They could also ensure that you get the treatment you require.
· If you think your back pain may be due to working in an office, you should adjust your seat to ensure that your screens are at eye level and your feet are flat on the ground. You may also wish to request a lumbar support cushion for your chair, which may help to improve your posture. Your employer may offer to provide you with an adjustable/ standing desk which you could use to alleviate back pain.
How to Relieve Back Pain at Work using Physiotherapy
One of the most common treatment options for back pain is physiotherapy.
Briganti Physiotherapy offers a range of treatments and modalities to manage, reduce and eliminate back pain. Briganti Physiotherapy uses a range of evidence based treatments and modalities to aid in your recovery. While we utilise manual therapy and injection therapy to help treat patients, the underpinning of our treatment is based on education and the use exercise and strengthening.
How Beacon Law Assist?
If you believe your back pain resulted from your duties at work or an accident at work, due to employer’s negligence or lack of training of health and safety procedures, you may be able to make a claim.
Beacon Law provides a highly experienced team of solicitors and legal professionals. We provide a high level of service to all our clients and work hard to ensure you receive the highest level of accident at work compensation for your injuries. Beacon Law is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If you would like to find out if you could make a claim, use our contact forms, or call 0330 1332 857 and a specialist solicitor will get in touch.