Top Tips For Helping Prevent Low Back Pain At Work  

Low back pain – it’s one of the most common complaints treated at our Ottawa physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics. In many cases, the causes can be pinpointed, and the pain is both treatable and preventable.

Just as heavy lifting can cause low back pain, so can sitting at a desk all day.  Whether your job is active or sedentary, here are some ways to help prevent the debilitating low back pain that can prevent you from fully doing your job – and even from enjoying life outside work.

What Causes Low Back Pain?

Looking at the causes of low back pain can point to the best ways to help prevent it. From front line health care and construction workers to office denizens, there are risks you should keep in mind.

  • Too much force – lifting objects that are too heavy can cause a sudden injury.
  • Repeated movements – repeated movements that involve twisting or rotating the spine can injure your back over time.
  • Lack of movement – inactivity and poor posture, especially if accompanied by inadequate back support, can cause lower back strain over time.
  • Lifestyle issues – poor physical condition and obesity can contribute to low back pain.

What Can You Do?

There are many things that you can incorporate into your everyday lifestyle that will help you avoid low back pain – both on and off the job.

Exercise – Along with your aerobic routine, be sure to include exercises that strengthen your core muscles, including your back and abdomen. These will improve your balance, and decrease your risk of falling, along with providing your spine with optimal support. Your Ottawa physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist can advise you on the best exercises for your condition.

Posture – Posture is crucial to maintaining a healthy back, whether your work involves standing or sitting. Here are some posture tips:

  • Don’t slouch, and keep your shoulders relaxed, and back.
  • When you stand, balance your weight evenly on both feet.
  • Choose a chair that supports the curve of your spine, and adjust the height so that your feet rest flat on the floor, with your thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Take your cell phone or wallet out of your back pocket – it can create an imbalance, and extra pressure on your lower back.

Lifting Techniques – Good form is just as important for lifting heavy objects as it is for your favourite sport. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Lift with your legs, tightening your core muscles to balance.
  • Hold the object close to your body, and maintain the natural curve of your spine.
  • Don’t lift and twist at the same time.
  • Don’t attempt to force yourself to lift something too heavy.

Avoid constant repetition – By avoiding constant repetition of tasks like lifting – even lighter objects – you can help to avoid back pain.

  • Try to alternate tasks that involve lifting with other activities.
  • If you use a phone, use the speaker or a headset.
  • Limit the time that you carry heavy objects, including briefcases and purses.
  • Try to change your position every half hour. If you work at a computer, stand up and take at least a brief walk around every 30 to 60 minutes.

Experiencing lower back pain, or any other condition of the musculoskeletal system? Our trained Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists are the experts who can help. Call one of our Ottawa clinics today, or drop by to make an appointment.


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