Did you know that back pain is the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in the United States? Manual labor jobs tend to place added stress on certain areas of the spine. Chronic lower back pain, spinal fractures, and disc herniation are among the most common workplace-related back injuries. But there are a number of things you can do to reduce or prevent those injuries. So, let’s jump in and discuss manual labor and back pain.
Stretching helps both improve flexibility and increase a range in motion in our joints. Better flexibility may improve your physical performance. And it may also decrease your risk of having an injury. Now your joints able to move through their entire range of motion. Not to mention your muscles will be able to work more effectively. Stretching also helps to improve circulation, muscle posture, and enhance your energy. A pre-work or pre-sleep stretch routine for your spine could include:
- Forward bends (don’t force the stretch)
- Side-to-side neck stretches
- Shoulder rotations
- Gentle hamstring stretches
- Hip flexor stretches (to provide added support for your lower back)
Some manual labor requires us to perform the same tasks repeatedly. This may cause overstressing to the lower and/or upper back. Make sure you aren’t trying to push through the pain for the sake of the job. That will only cause trouble. You might damage a disc or irritate the nerves around your back.
So, make sure to take a break when you start to notice back pain. And try mixing up the tasks you do throughout your day. This way, you’re not using the same back-supporting muscles constantly. Use tools like dollies and wheel barrels when your back needs a break, but you need to get the job done.
Wear Shoes with Support
Supportive shoes are for your grandma and nurses, right? Wrong. When you engage in manual labor, you end up spending a lot of time on your feet. If your shoes aren’t providing sufficient support, your back will end up absorbing a lot of added strain. If you are limited in what types of shoes you can use for work, talk to your doctor or a foot specialist. You can discuss custom orthotics or find over-the-counter shoe inserts that provide enough support.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Use a Device If You Need It
There are going to be times you just can’t avoid putting stress on your back. But there are devices and tools you can use to find some relief. Back braces and similar wearables can provide protection for your back. They take some of the direct pressure off your spine as you lift, stretch, or bend. Your doctor should be able to provide some insight into something appropriate for your situation. Common supportive devices include thoracic braces, lumbar braces, corrective clavicle braces, and adjustable back braces.
Work It Out
Try to make exercise a regular habit. It truly can do wonders for your back. Not only does it increase your muscle strength and flexibility, but it also triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural version of pain relievers. Strive for about 20-30 minutes of daily exercise 3-5 times a week. Try exercises for your back like:
- Casual walking, jogging, or biking
- Core strengthening exercises
- Water-based exercises (especially beneficial if you’re already experiencing back pain from other sources)
Chiropractic Care for Back Pain
Manual labor can be hard enough. Don’t let back pain make it harder. Contact us today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session. We can discuss your back pain and other concerns as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice.
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.