Let’s face it. Work can be a pain. Between deadlines, abrasive coworkers and budget cuts, the full-time office life often threatens to squelch even the cheeriest of employees. Now new research is proving what many of us have suspected for years — work can be a literal pain, too. Back pain in the workplace is a common occurrence, and yet few workers (and even fewer employers) know what to do to combat it beyond the occasional five-minute stretch at the water cooler.
It’s easy to make light of something we are usually able to just mentally push past, but the truth of the matter is, desk life is accelerating damage and even death to our bodies, and our work culture must be revamped in order for many to get out alive.
While it may sound dramatic, both professional statistics and the everyday experience of many office workers currently prove that back pain is an incredibly common problem in the office, and that it can often lead to more dire consequences.
How We Are Murdering Our Backs
Our bodies are not designed for a sedentary lifestyle, and yet in the face of such a technologically driven society, we often feel there is no choice but to spend generous portions of the day sitting in one spot. The average healthy person’s back will take a beating from this low-energy lifestyle, leading to increased pain, stiffness and long-term problems. In other words, we prefer electronics over our physical well-being, and this needs to stop.
Our bodies are naturally designed to be active, and sedentary positions cause back muscles to tense up from supporting the rest of the body in a single stance for too long. The spine is also adversely affected and takes much longer to heal. We are unable to recover from much of this damage once it occurs, and women in particular will incur unsightly varicose veins that result in the same circulatory blockages that can cause the back pain.
Despite many companies promoting ergonomic working conditions, countless employees continue to practice poor posture and typing at their desk. This adds additional strain to the back, leading to long-term (and oftentimes permanent) damage to the lower back’s ligaments. Outside of sitting all day at the office, some of us additionally sit in heavy traffic during our daily commute and also sit while eating lunch. This only adds to the stress on our back.
Finally, sitting contributes to obesity, which of course leads to undue strain on the back. Our joints and muscles are not designed to endure extra weight as the years go by, and as our bodies are aging and growing more frail, we are demanding they take on more work. It’s a process that is detrimental to the whole of our systems, but often starts in the back. So, if you want to kill yourself while making a buck, consider continuing in your work routine. However if you’re looking for a solution, read on.
If you already consider yourself to be particularly active, other things can cause back pain in the workplace, including excessive force upon the back or repetitive movements for multiple hours.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com; Greg Voakes; April 15, 2014.