You get up in the morning and it takes all you have in you just to roll out of bed. You stagger down the hall, one hand on your back, to get your first cup of coffee. It seems like you’re sore and stiff all the time when you wake up, and you wonder if you have a back injury.
Pain like this is far more common than a lot of people realize, and it may be related to things you do at work. You could have suffered an injury from a one-time event or you may be slowly damaging your back and spine over time. Either way, it’s a serious issue that can impact the rest of your life. To help you know why it’s happening, here are five potential reasons.
1. You’re not lifting properly
If heavy lifting is part of your job, you have to learn to lift with your legs and not your back. Bending at the waist and using your back to wrench something up to chest height is a mistake. You want your back to stay as straight as possible at all times, bending your knees to get lower and then using your legs to power yourself back up.
2. You’re overexerting yourself
Maybe you typically work at a desk, and you just don’t train for any significant physical exercise. Then your boss needs you to help out with a highly physical task out of the blue. You throw yourself into it with gusto, trying to show that you’re a motivated employee, and you overexert yourself in no time. Don’t put your back through something it’s not ready for.
3. You don’t move enough
You need to keep your blood moving, as the discs in your back notoriously get a poor blood supply. All of that sitting, even with good posture, can do a lot of damage. If you sit at a desk all day and sit in your car on the way to and from work, even when you’re not exerting yourself, you can hurt your back.
4. You have poor posture
In addition to the above, your posture while you sit is very important. As with lifting, you need to keep your back straight. It feels comfortable and normal to slouch down over the keyboard, but that takes a toll.
5. You don’t think about physical tasks
Distraction is a problem. If your mind isn’t on the task at hand, you can bend, twist, reach or lift improperly. Trying to do physical tasks while talking on the phone, for instance, increases the risk.
After the injury
These are just five examples, but they help to show why back injuries are so common. If you get hurt on the job, make sure you know what legal steps to take.