Pain relief through a focus on function
Preventing back and neck
pain | Sitting at a desk | Basic
rules of desk ergonomics | Standing
for long periods | Driving
and back pain | Lifting heavy
objects at work
a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong.
Either the back is too weak, too inflexible or the wrong body
mechanics were used to perform a task.
Doctors who focus exclusively on pain symptoms
often recommend treatment that is the exact opposite of what
is actually needed. Historically, doctors have treated back pain
with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask the patient’s discomfort.
However, this type of treatment is actually more damaging to
the back. It causes back muscles to weaken, which leads to more
strain and pain. Patients became dependent on drugs and grew
inactive and disabled.
Pain relief can actually be achieved through movement.
Low-impact sports such as walking and swimming are ideal in making
the back feel better and stronger.
Working with a therapist may be necessary for optimal
recovery from back or neck pain. Therapists are able to relieve pain
using specialized techniques, tissue and joint mobilization and personalized
exercises. A therapist is also trained to recognize the boundaries
of back and neck pain patients, in order to maximize therapy without
causing further injury.
Back and Neck Pain
Proper multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs are structured
around returning patients to the tasks of everyday life. Once
the collaborative effort has paid off, and this has been achieved,
it is important to prevent future back pain episodes. In just about
any job situation, there are going to be hazards that need to
be avoided, whether it is sitting at a desk or working in a warehouse. Click
here for more specific ways to prevent back or neck
at a Desk
You may have encountered the term "ergonomics," which
is surfacing more and more in the workplace. Ergonomics is a
science concerned with designing and arranging things people
use in the safest and most efficient manner possible.
Ergonomics is often applied to people who sit at
a desk all day. While it seems harmless, sitting for long periods
of time can actually cause back pain. It adds stress to the
back, especially if the chair is poorly designed.
The Basic Rules of Desk-Related
Make sure your chair molds properly to your back.
Many employers concerned with the safety of their workers purchase
chairs that support the low back. If you are too short or too tall
for your back to rest properly in these chairs, or if your company
does not offer ergonomically designed chairs, consider bringing in
a rolled-up towel. Place it behind your low back to reduce the amount
of stress on the back.
Make sure your feet rest flat on the floor. If this
is a problem, use a footstool. Proper foot and leg alignment will
ease back stress.
While typing on a computer, your forearms and thighs
should be parallel to ensure proper shoulder alignment. If necessary,
use a pad to support your wrists while typing.
When you type, your neck should not have to crane
constantly, as your eyes dart from keyboard to monitor. The monitor
should be at eye-level or slightly below eye-level.
Get up and move around every half hour, even if it's
just a quick stretch by the side of your desk. Your back enjoys movement,
so reward it.
for Long Periods
Many jobs, such as teaching
and cashiering, involve standing for long periods of time. People rarely equally distribute their weight onto both
legs while standing. Instead, they tend to shift their weight from
one side to another, throwing the spine out of alignment, which can
lead to back strain.
If you have difficulty standing without shifting weight,
try standing with one leg on a footrest, periodically switching feet.
Take a minute every now and then to do back exercises that will help loosen up stiffness.
and Back Pain
Muscles were designed to move and stretch. Sitting pulls muscles into
a shortened position, causing stiffness. Also, the sciatic nerve, which
runs between the spine and thighs, can be compressed by the weight
of sitting for a long time.
Just like at a desk job, driving for a long period
of time can cause strain on the back. Many seats in cars are
designed to support the spine properly, but even if your car
was designed ergonomically, your height may differ from the
height of the person for which the seat was designed.
A long drive in the car is often followed by an attempt to yank heavy
suitcases out of the trunk. Watch out. Your back is at high risk of
injury. Be sure to remove your wallet from your back
pocket before a long drive, as it can place pressure on the
sciatic nerve. To prevent back pain, stop and stretch every
hour or so to keep muscles loosened up. Feel it out. If your
back hurts after a long drive, roll up a towel and place it
behind your low back to support the lumbar
Even if you have not been driving long distances, lifting heavy
objects might be a normal part of your day-to-day tasks at work. Accidents
are likely to occur during improper lifting. Mothers are also at risk
when it comes to heavy lifting. Lifting a child can cause back strain
if not done properly. To learn how to lift properly, click here.
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