06 Oct TAKING CARE OF YOUR BACK DURING PHYSICAL WORK?
The statistical data from recent years shows that up to 80% of adults appeal to the doctor due to work-related back pain at least once in their lives. When moving around a lot or during physical work, we often don’t realize that we may be doing it wrong. In this way, we are not only suffering from acute health problems but also from chronic back pain.
Continuous physical activity or physical work applies great loads to the spinal vertebrae. Chronic lower back pain, vertebral fractures, spinal disc hernias are some of the most common changes associated with physical activity.
It is wrong to assume that physical work concerns only the construction, industrial or agricultural sectors. Clinic AGATAS was approached by the “Gyvenkime aktyviai” mountain climbing guides Šarūnas and Vilma. They are young and physically strong professionals, but due to their hard work, frequent travel and constant loads on their backs, they are increasingly beginning to experience discomfort and pain.
Šarūnas and Vilma took care of their health in a conscious way, and this is a great example of how to take care of yourself when the first signs of ailment occur. After all, when doing physical work, a preventive visit to a physical therapist can help prevent future injuries or occupational illnesses.
Clinic AGATAS physical therapist Eigirdas Špokauskas shared some basic tips to help prevent or reduce the risk of work-related injuries.
- Perform stretching or warm-up exercises before starting your physical activity.
- When the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine go from passive to active condition during movement, higher energy consumption occurs. Stretching increases the blood flow to provide these tissues with more nutrients and increases the flexibility of the spine joints (facet joints). The following stretching exercises can be performed before starting work:
- Easy, slowly bending forward;
- Neck stretching sideways;
- Shoulder rotation;
- Gentle stretching of the hollow back of the knee;
- Stretching of the flexor muscle of the hip (to give more support to the lower back).
- Avoid overloading the body.
If you have to do the same repetitive movements during the job, you may overload your lower or upper back (two areas where back pain is most common). When the pain is felt, avoid continuing the movement with the main reason to complete a task. This can only further damage the intervertebral discs or irritate the spinal nerves.
Reduce the risk of overtraining:
- Take breaks when you feel back pain.
Interchange tasks with your colleagues throughout the day so that the same back support muscles would not be tired all the time.
When transporting heavier objects, use a variety of mobile lifting, transporting platforms.
- Wear special footwear.
Proper footwear is extremely important when you spend a lot of time standing or walking. During the physical work, the lower back is under increased load due to continuous movements. In this case, we recommend consulting an orthopedist to select the most appropriate footwear.
- Exercise regularly during after-work hours.
Regular exercising produces significant positive results such as strengthens the muscles and increases flexibility. In addition, while exercising endorphins are released, which act similarly to painkillers.
The physical therapist will help you to set up an individual exercising program, which would take 20-30 minutes daily. Of course, certain exercises may be suitable for many individuals who suffer from back pain:
- Easy walking, cycling.
- Muscle-strengthening exercises.
- Exercising in the water.
In some cases, physical therapy alone may not be sufficient to treat lower back pain. There are many different and progressive methods of treating pain, so it is worth considering consulting a pain physician or neurosurgeon about back problems. In fact, due to the complexity of back pain, the examination and consultation of several specialists would lead to the most effective treatment results.