Work-Related Problems

So what are the most common work-related back complaints?

Musculoskeletal problems

These can affect the full length of the spine from the neck to the lower back and are caused by poor posture and spending long periods of time in the same position.

Head and neck strain

Tension in your neck and shoulders from being hunched over your keyboard or monitor can lead to strain in these areas, making them tight and uncomfortable. Pain in your upper back can also spread to your head causing tension headaches

Lower back pain

This is a common complaint and can be caused by an existing injury, although an increasing number of cases are a result of bad posture, uncomfortable bending, reaching and twisting or a combination of all of these.

Strains on the back at work are more likely if

  • Your job involves being seated in one place for long periods of time. An unchanging posture can put prolonged abnormal tension on the back.
  • Your job involves, lifting, bending or moving heavy objects, lifting incorrectly is a common cause of back problems at work.
  • There’s a high level of stress, anxiety and tension in your job or at home. This can generally increase muscle tension throughout the body and increase the chances of sudden sprain.
  • You are generally unfit, this makes injuries more likely.
  • You are overweight; this puts extra stress on the back.

Using a laptop and your back

Laptops were designed to be easily portable and only used for short periods, however laptops are now most people’s main work station which is bad news for your posture!

It is generally agreed that people using laptops adopt a hunched posture where their neck is bent (flexed), head is lowered and protrudes forward, shoulders roll in and chest appears sunken. Consequently the spine loses its normal S shape and is arched forward. Such postures are considered to give rise to musculoskeletal discomfort and disorders.

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