Back pain – what can you do for yourself and your employees?

Over half of the British population are said to suffer from back pain, and often the issue can be traced back to many of our office lifestyles which are can be to blame.

Furthermore, if you are reading this article before lunchtime, however, there’s a high chance you’ll be doubled up in pain – scientists from George Institute for Global Health whose mission is to improve the health of millions of people worldwide, have discovered that the highest attacks of back pain, and the highest danger of putting your back out, come before lunchtime.

They have also revealed that being tired when lifting or moving something triples the risk of sudden back pain, and sitting in an awkward position increases the chances eightfold.

Naturally, for many of us, that ‘awkward position’ means being sat at their office desk.  So here are a few tips to help you as an employee and how you can ease the agony of back pain for your organisation,

Keep moving

It might sound obvious but make sure you meet the basic need to move more frequently, not just during the working day, but whenever you can. 

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Obviously, knowing this doesn’t mean we can do that much about it – we can’t all just walk away of our jobs. However, walking away from your desk for a couple of minutes can be enough.

One tip is to get up out of your chair every 30 minutes for a two-minute walk around the office.

Better before bed

If you notice your back pain specifically in the morning, it could be because inflammation can build up during the night due to the immobility of the spine. If this is happening, you will typically feel sore getting out of bed, putting your socks on and cleaning your teeth. You could trying doing a few mobility exercises before you go to bed.

Get your monitor right

To avoid a back-breaking day of labour, you need to set up your computer screen just right.  Try placing your monitor at the correct height – the upper third of the screen should be at eye level, make sure your hips and knees are at 90 degrees, and don’t use a laptop at work.

Remember also, as an employer you are legally obliged to carry out regular workstation assessments to provide safe working conditions including the provision of information/training for employees about workplace posture and ergonomics.  Whether employees are sitting, standing or moving all day their posture could lead to short and long term injuries that may impact their performance.  

We provide a great workstation assessment package, postural training or advice for businesses which can all be branded, plus tailored specifically to your industry, company size and employee roles.  The software automates the process dramatically reducing administration time, making it very simple and easy to implement across your organisation.    The online questionnaire takes around 10-15 minutes and built in reminders ensure high levels of staff compliance with relevant information automatically sent to employees who identify potential issues.