Whether you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk. Or maybe you find yourself regularly lifting heavy objects as you restock supplies. The bottom line is, if you’re female, you’re at greater risk for back injury on the job. The problem, as you might have guessed, is all in how women are built and in the way they engage their muscles, joints and bones as they move. When women lift heavy objects, for instance, they tend to move each joint separately rather than in unison, which puts a lot of stress on the lower spine. Women who sit for long hours each day also suffer when their furniture is not customized to provide the support their frames need.
There are a few easy ways to combat back injuries on the job:
1) Use proper lifting technique to prevent back injuries.
Always lift from the legs rather than the back, and move as fluidly as possible. Never attempt to lift a heavy box entirely on your own. Ask a coworker for help.
2) Always use individually customized furniture and ergonomic equipment.
Male or female, it’s important that your workspace adjust to fit your body and your behavior. Ideally, invest in an ergonomic chair that provides ample lumbar support and can be lowered or raised so that the soles of your feet lie flat against the floor. It’s also wise to invest in a laptop and tablet stand to raise the screen of your devices so that you can keep your neck in a neutral position as you look at the screen. This matters not just for the neck itself, but because straining your neck also generally leads to poor posture. Furthermore, this can translate into back pain. Taking the time to find your individual fit will pay off in comfort and health in the long run.
Taking frequent breaks to get up and move around will gently challenge your muscles and joints to move in new ways, which will help prevent repetitive strain injuries. Stretching right at your desk can also be highly effective, whether you’re simply arching your back or reaching for the ceiling. Stopping for a stretch break will also refresh you mentally and prepare you for productivity when you pick back up again.
For more on the risk of back injuries in the office, especially for women, we highly recommend reading this in-depth report from the Wall Street Journal.
Do you suffer from back pack? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.