Prevent Back Injuries

What is the most common medical problem in the U.S.? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the answer is muscle strain — especially in the back. And one of the most common causes of back strains is work-related injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Prolonged sitting and improper lifting are two of the leading causes of work-related back pain and injury. Combined with poor posture and other bad back habits, there is a high risk of injury to the back.

The Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine is the most common area of the back to be injured. The weight of the upper body on the lower back adds to the strain. Disk herniations and muscle strain are two of the injuries that commonly occur.

There are precautions that you can take to prevent lower back injuries:

  • Make sure your workstation is ergonomically adjusted — A lot of your day is spent at your desk. If you are sitting improperly or otherwise causing strain on your back, over time an injury may occur. Getting an ergonomic chair and a headset for your phone can help make your workstation more back-friendly. Also, make sure that your computer is adjusted at proper sightline level to reduce eye, back, and neck pain.
  • Use devices to help you lift — If you have a physically demanding job, make use of tools and equipment — like lifting belts, dollies, tow motors, wheelbarrows, etc. — to reduce back strain.
  • Use proper form, always — Learn what movements are safe for your back — exercise proper lifting, bending, and twisting.
  • Be mindful of your posture — Poor posture, both when you sit and when you stand, can lead to back injuries and muscle fatigue. Keep your core strong, and sit and stand with good posture.
  • Get up and move — Prolonged sitting is bad for your back. Every 20 to 30 minutes, stand up, stretch, and walk around. This will help decrease stiffness and subsequent pain in your back.
  • Learn proper lifting — If you are going to lift a heavy object, make sure you are doing it right. Stand in front of the object, bend down (keeping your back relatively straight), grab the object close to your chest, and use your knees, hips, and legs to lift the object. Avoid using your back strength to lift heavy objects.
  • Keep your body in shape — Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your core muscles strong are important in keeping your back in optimal condition.
  • Don't ignore warning signs — If something feels wrong in your back, exercise extreme caution. This could be the first sign of a back injury. Take it easy, stop, stretch, and see how you feel. Get medical attention if you feel like your back has been injured. Don't ignore your body's warning signs.

If you have injured your back in a work accident, talk to a workers' compensation attorney about your options. Call 866-225-9496 or complete our online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.