Back pain is a serious health problem for millions of workers nationwide. Back pain can be caused by a number of conditions and injuries. As an employee, it's important to know the facts about back pain and to understand your rights as an injured worker.
Why Does it Hurt?
Back injuries like sprains, fractures or even falling down can cause back pain. Problems like ruptured and herniated discs, spasms and tense muscles can also lead to back pain. In some cases, back pain is a symptom of a larger condition or disease like scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, arthritis, or tumors.
Who is at Risk?
Though almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their life, some people are more likely to suffer from back pain. Generally, back pain becomes more common with age and with poor physical fitness. Being overweight often leads to complications with back pain.
People who are pregnant, have kidney stones, are overly stressed or have an infection are predisposed to back pain. Some types of back pain are hereditary.
Is My Job a Factor?
The most commonly reported on-the-job injury is back pain. People with physically demanding jobs involving regular lifting, pulling or pushing while twisting their spine are likely to develop back pain. Jobs fields with high rates of back injuries include construction, manufacturing, landscaping, painting, factory work, and farm work.
Back pain is also common in people who work while sitting and perform repetitive tasks. Jobs like these include any stationary office work, administration, management, or factory work.
If you think your job is causing your back pain or contributing to it, contact a worker's compensation attorney to help you understand your rights as an injured worker. You may be entitled to free medical care and wage loss benefits through worker's compensation.
Preventing Back Pain
If you work in a physically demanding role, stay fit and exercise your back muscles to keep them strong and less susceptible to damage. If you must lift heavy objects, bend your legs and keep your back straight. For those who work sedentary office jobs, stay fit and keep your back straight while sitting to prevent back pain. Take breaks for stretching when needed.
Stopping back pain before it becomes chronic can have a markedly positive effect on your quality of life.