Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide — and it costs the American economy upwards of $100 billion per year in lost wages and productivity. Many of these back problems are due to injuries in the workplace, and they are usually totally preventable. With back pain being such a drain on our economy and businesses, why aren’t we doing more to prevent it?
Most people associate back injuries with warehouse jobs where people are doing the same repetitive lifting and bending tasks all day long. While this is certainly one way to injure yourself, it’s far from the only way. Sitting at a desk all day long can also take its toll on your back thanks to the pressure it puts on your lower back, improper ergonomics, and inactivity.
For workers in physically demanding jobs, alternating repetitive tasks with other workers, taking frequent breaks, lifting with the legs and not the back, and wearing proper safety and protective gear can make a big difference. For office workers, paying attention to ergonomics and making adjustments as needed is a great place to start. Taking frequent breaks to get up, move, and stretch can benefit both kinds of workers.
Personal lifestyle choices can also affect back pain. Obesity, inactivity, and stress can all exacerbate back pain. Most often when someone does sustain an injury at work they are unable to fully recover thanks to limited time off, but physical therapy and rest can be surprisingly effective at treating back injuries when given the time to work.
What can your business do to prevent back pain from being a drain? Often small changes can add up to a big difference in protecting employees, and they will appreciate you for the effort. Learn more about the effects of back pain on businesses and the economy from the infographic below.