Nobody wants to get injured at work. But for office workers and other professionals, a back injury is one of the most common injuries that you can experience during your working life. In 2017, Safe Work Australia reported that ‘body stressing’, which includes muscle strains and spinal injuries, was the most common cause of workplace compensation claims from 2015-2016.
At moll Shop Australia, we focus on developing and refining our range of ergonomic office furniture with the aim of reducing the likelihood of back strain or injury at work. A reliable and quality study desk and office chair is tailored to your measurements and allows your spine the natural movement and flexibility that it needs. But how else can we avoid suffering a workplace related spinal or muscular injury?
In this month’s blog post, we discuss how to avoid a back injury at work:
Adjust Your Posture
One simple way to avoid a back injury at work is to ensure that you have good posture, no matter whether you work standing or sitting. People who work on computers tend to slouch forward, rounding their shoulders and letting their head hang forward, unknowingly holding this position for hours. People who stand at work can have similar issues by frequently twisting, bending and reaching for things at their workstation. These types of poor posture habits leave the back unsupported, and can result in chronic back pain and other injuries.
The most important thing to remember is to avoid getting trapped in a static position. Standing workers need to keep moving to keep the body limber, and seated workers similarly need to stretch and take regular breaks to prevent stiffness and muscle strain. Having an ergonomically correct workstation is also important! Check out our blog post The Moll Guide to Ergonomics in the Workplace to learn more.
Regular stretching is another way to avoid back injury in the workplace. Stretching your wrists, shoulders, back, torso, neck, hip flexors and legs can help to reduce workplace injury, and some can even be done while sitting at your desk. This list of stretches will help keep you moving during your work day. Make sure that the stretches are slow and sustained, holding each for between 10 and 20 seconds each.
A regular practice of yoga, tai chi, pilates and other low-impact exercise can also help prevent back injuries. Yoga in particular has been proven to increase flexibility, build muscle strength, and improve your posture, balance and your ability to focus, along with a range of other benefits.
Strengthen Your Back with Exercise
Prevention is always better than a cure, as the old saying goes, and one of the easiest ways to avoid a back injury at work is to exercise regularly and strengthen the muscles in your back. Regular low-impact aerobic exercise such as swimming or walking can strengthen your back without exposing it to any stress or sudden jolts. Exercise also assists in maintaining a healthy weight, as excess weight can put strain on your lower back and be another cause of chronic pain.
Exercise helps to condition your back muscles, so that they can better support the spine. This leads to relief in any back and neck pain you might be experiencing, and better alignment of the spine overall. Check out this list of back strengthening exercises to get started.
Reduce Your Stress
The final way that you can avoid a back injury at work is to reduce your stress levels. Stress causes tension in the spine, and prolonged tension can lead to pain and other injuries. Of course it is impossible to remove stress completely from the workplace, and studies have shown that stress actually has benefits, able to increase your motivation, focus and resilience levels. However, too much stress can impact your physical and mental health, and needs to be effectively managed.
Some useful stress management techniques include yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and taking frequent short breaks from stressful tasks. Getting out of the office for a walk during lunch, keeping organised and on top of your workload, and listening to music are also helpful and productive ways to deal with stress. If you are unsure of where to start with meditation, there are several websites and apps that can help, such as Headspace.
Therefore, avoiding becoming a statistic with a workplace related back injury is easy, if you make sure that you are maintaining the correct posture at your workstation, stretching and exercising regularly, and applying the stress management techniques that work for you. With a few simple changes, you can ensure that your back stays healthy throughout your working life!
To learn more about ergonomics and browse our full product range of ergonomic office furniture, please visit our Australian online store.