Back pain

Preventing back pain at work: how to stay healthy

In most office jobs, the ability to concentrate is key to one’s productivity. Back pain is one of the main reasons why employees in Germany drop out or can no longer cope with the given workload. To prevent back pain from putting an abrupt end to one’s career, there are various ways of prevention. The following guide describes which preventive measures are helpful.

The first path should lead to a specialist

Knowing the cause and effect is the first step in diagnosing back pain. Although the pain itself as a symptom is very annoying in everyday life, it can only be cured definitively by eliminating the cause. Nevertheless, the family doctor is often the wrong person to make this diagnosis. Employees make a better decision to look for an occupational physician close to home. Under this name, a new field of modern medicine has formed in recent years.

The field of activity of an occupational physician consists in recognizing the connections between an occupation and the ailments active in the workers and in treating them afterwards. Based on this more targeted treatment, patients are also better able to identify major problems in the workplace, such as spinal misalignments caused by work position.

The ergonomic workplace makes all the difference

If a person works mostly at a computer or in other sedentary office jobs, it is not possible to drastically change work processes overnight. One measure that could be implemented with less effort to prevent back pain, however, is changes to the work environment. If employees find an ergonomically designed workplace, the chances of avoiding long periods of sick leave due to back pain in the future are all the greater.

While many employers already give preference to ergonomically shaped keyboards and computer mice as a matter of course, the desk is less strongly represented in the selection of ergonomic furnishings. Yet it’s worth taking a look at the new selection of desks right now. The standing desk, in particular, finally puts an end to sedentary work. The standing desk is designed for working in a standing position. This straight posture also means that the muscles in the back show less tension.

Stretching exercises noticeably relieve the muscles

Most people start stretching quite automatically after getting up. This behavior is typical to get the muscles that are hardly used during sleep moving again. During the day, on the other hand, most people forget that sitting is also a rather one-sided activity for the back muscles. Stretching more often during this time also stretches the muscles. These mini-workouts do not have to consist of complicated exercises. Untrained people also have the opportunity to incorporate this short workout into their daily routine with simple exercises.

The neck should not be forgotten in the selection of exercises. The muscles there tend to become painful and tense at the end of the working day in many people, even at a young age. With targeted stretching exercises, such as turning the head to the left or right, the neck muscles stay in exercise and tense up less quickly.

Small changes achieve big effects

Another proven tool for preventing back pain while performing work is to increase the amount of movement. One way to achieve this movement is to make a few changes in the office. For example, placing the printer on the opposite side of the room leads to having to stand up more often during the day. Over time, this approach quickly finds other areas that lend themselves to increased movement. Going directly to colleagues’ offices instead of emailing is an additional change that can pay dividends with a pain-free back years from now.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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