Dealing with Work-Related Back Pain

Back pain can strike at any time, and from myriad sources, but when it is related to your work it is particularly concerning. Though we all know that workers’ compensation exists and is available, the truth is that most people would rather just get better and stick to their regular schedule than tell their boss that they can’t work because of back pain.

The problem, of course, is that back pain can be debilitating. It is exhausting and taxing, both physically and mentally. When the slightest wrong move can trigger pain, it impacts our attitude, our productivity, and our ability to give 100% to our employer, so preventing back injuries and addressing occupationally caused back pain is essential.

Let’s look at the main causes of back pain and what steps we can take to address it.

What Causes Back Pain at Work

In most cases, back pain experienced at work is minor. It’s caused by strains, inflammation, or pinched nerves that have been caused by improper mechanics, and some occupations are more susceptible to this type of pain than others. For example, office workers and long-haul drivers are more likely to experience pain from sitting for too long; warehouse workers are more at risk for twisting or overextending injuries; hair stylists experience pain from bending over clients or being on their feet all day.

The chief causes of back pain include:

  • Bending or twisting improperly
  • Sitting in one position for too long (including while driving)
  • Overextending
  • Repetitive stress injuries caused by overusing the same muscles
  • Stress

Though these actions (or inactions) can result in pain, there are also physical injuries that can cause pain. These can occur either at home or at home, but interfere you’re your ability to do your job. These injuries include:

  • Herniated disc
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal fracture

Treatment for Back Pain That Interferes with Your Work

If you’re suffering from minor back pain that is making your work more difficult, there are a couple of exercises and actions you can try on your own. These include:

  • Keep on moving. Though it may be tempting to just sit, or even to lie in bed, the truth is that bed rest will keep you down longer and keeping active will hasten your recovery.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications that are available over the counter. Top choices include Motrin and Aleve. Take them regularly. There’s no reason to be a martyr to your pain, and taking these medications continuously will help address minor discomfort cause by temporary aches and pains.
  • Use heat packs and ice packs. Warm baths can ease stiffness too.

If your pain doesn’t go away after a few days, you need to be seen by a professional who can provide you with a thorough examination and diagnosis. Call us to make an appointment with our New Jersey lumbar spine specialist.

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