13 Ways to Fight Work-Related Back Pain



A man massaging his colleague

Sooner or later, everybody will experience some sort of a back pain.

It all depends on many factors, which include your genetics, shape and lifestyle.

Since your back is a significant part of your body, not all back pains are the same.

You can have pains in your pelvis, lumbar, or even neck. It all counts as back pain.

Among the most common causes of the backaches in the office are poor posture and prolonged periods of sitting, especially in positions that are unhealthy for your back.

Severe back pain is a crippling and annoying condition that renders you unable to perform regular daily tasks. That is why you should do everything in your power to prevent this from happening to your employees.

Another reason is purely business-related: chronic back pains cause absenteeism and influence your company’s productivity. Among all the simple techniques to improve your employees’ performance and productivity, you will always find something that points out the importance of proper posture and exercise.

Here are some of the effective ways to prevent and fight off work-related back pain and keep your employees happy and healthy.

1. Ergonomic Office Furniture

Home office with ergonomic chair

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Image by jnyemb

Your employees spend a better part of their day in their office chair. This means that their chair is very important when it comes to correctly supporting their spine and back muscles.

Ergonomic chairs are not hard to find these days, because a lot of businesses recognised their great effects on the wellbeing of their employees. A good ergonomic chair should enable the correct sitting posture of its user.

It needs to have appropriate lumbar support, adjustable backrest and seat tilt. This will prevent painful episodes because it will prevent back muscles and ligaments from being too strained.

2. Help Employees Correct Their Posture

When sitting, your back needs to be leaned on the backrest. The spine needs to be held straight, shoulders relaxed. Thighs should have support all to the knees, which should be bent under 90 degrees and resting on the floor. No slouching and bending forward. Elbows need to be in line with the wrists while typing.

The easiest way to figure out the best standing posture is to stand with your back pressed against a wall. Move your heels around 15 cm away from the wall and push your head, shoulders and back to touch the wall. Draw in your abs. That is how a good posture feels. Keep that in mind and mime it until it becomes your habit.

Correct posture at all times prevents vertebra from slipping from their natural position. This can grow into a very painful condition if not prevented and treated.

3. Install Standing Workstations

A man working using his standing workstation

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Image by John M

Sitting can place more pressure on your lower back than standing does. So, it is very important that your employees have the option of standing while working. The best option is to change between standing and sitting while working.

Standing workstations don’t take up much of your office space. There is a benefit to your employees’ health, so they should definitely be a part of your office furniture.

4. Consider Moving Desks

Offering your employees standing workstations is a great option. Switching from sitting to standing and the other way around is great for your back. However, what if your employees aren’t that keen on using the standing desks? Try moving desks.

By installing moving desks, you are forcing your employees to change positions which does wonders for their back and prevents back pains. Moving desks automatically fall down and rise up to force people to stretch their legs and back.

5. Encourage Employees to Do Yoga

Yoga helps relieve back pain

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Image by U.S. Army

Yoga has many benefits on the human body and mind and it does wonders for your back. By making your ligaments, bones and muscles more flexible, you will prevent strains and back injuries.

But how to inspire your employees to do yoga often? You can hire somebody to come to your office and do practice there. You can help your employees by making a deal with a yoga centre and workout a discount. There are many ways, you just need to think creatively.

6. Reinforce Regular Stretches

Regular stretches are a first step in the fight against back pain. Everybody should stretch at least once for 2 minutes, every 35-40 minutes of sitting.

People forget this. They think they don’t have the time. Employers see it as a waste of company time. But, if such a short break can improve productivity and prevent days off due to excruciating back pain, isn’t it worth the trouble? Encourage your employees to stretch regularly.

7. Put up Posters with Proper Lifting Technique

Poster for proper lifting technique

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Image by Unknown

Lifting heavy objects is not really a part of everyday routine around the office. Still, it makes it even more dangerous, because when such a thing occurs, people are not ready for it.

There are bad ways and the proper ways to lift things. Hang posters with proper ways to lift objects, because it will prevent a lot of injuries and back pain.

8. Bring Out Those Cushions

It is very important that you have proper lumbar support when you are spending your time sitting down in the office. A lot of ergonomic chairs have it, but at times, you have to improvise.

If there’s no money for proper chairs, you can always have cushions. Even a folded towel between your lumbar area and the chair will help you maintain proper sitting position.

9. Proper Positioning of the Computer Monitor

One of the reasons for frequent back pains and even headaches is the way you hold your neck. If you bring it forward too much, you cut prevent the blood from circulating and you press on the nerves.

Why do you do this? Because you are trying to see your computer screen. Computer screen needs to be positioned properly. Make sure that it is in your eye level, so that you are not forced to look down or up to use it.

10. Using Paper Holders if Necessary

There are some jobs that require from your employees to look at a paper and a computer screen at the same time. This means a lot of neck twisting and turning. This results in neck pain, back pain and headaches.

To prevent that from happening, you have to make sure that there is a holder next to your screen, so that all the things you need to look at while working on your computer are right there in front of you.

11. Provide Headphones with Mics for Telephone Conversations

Four working call centre agents

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Image by Holidayextras

Another thing that causes those back and neck pains are constant phone calls that your spine needs to endure. If you want to do something about it and feel better, make sure that everybody in your office has proper headsets.

This will allow your employees to maintain healthy posture while talking over the phone. Those that work in call centres and use phones in their everyday work constantly, need to come up with this sort of solution or it will reflect badly on their health.

12. Bring in the Expert to Teach People Breathing Techniques

Learning breathing techniques is important as it improves many health aspects of people’s lives. It relieves stress, muscle tension and even builds abdomen muscles. This last benefit is what makes proper breathing a great prevention strategy when it comes to back pain.

Abdomen muscles help you keep your body straight. They also ‘pull their weight’ and relieve the pressure your entire body puts on the spine. Proper breathing strengthens them and it also forces your body to assume a proper posture.

13. Have a First Aid Kit and Ice Packs Ready

Alsco first aid kit

Bad posture and inactivity are causes of many cases of back pain. However, injuries and accidents are also high on the list of causes. If that happens, you need to have a first aid kit and ready ice packs to soothe the damage made by an injury.

You are obliged to have a well-stocked first aid kits, purposefully positioned throughout your venue. It’s just so easy to forget that you need to restock it and that it needs to be compliant to the rules and regulations.

Call Alsco. We will rent you all the first aid kits you need. Moreover, we will help you determine how many you need and we’ll make sure they are always compliant and well-stocked.

Photo Courtesy of WikimediaCommons Image by Michael Dorausch



Disclaimer – These articles are provided to supply general health, safety, and green information to people responsible for the same in their organisation. The articles are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs.