Lower back discomfort is one of the most prevalent workplace complaints, affecting half of all Americans each year and responsible for 264 million lost workdays in the United States. So, if you suffer from lower back pain, you are not alone. But, to get rid of lower back pain and keep it from returning, you must first comprehend where it comes from and look beyond your workplace.
The spinal cord is a lengthy bundle of nerves and cells that runs from the bottom of the brain to the bottom of the back. It transmits signals from the brain to the remainder of the body. The vertebral column, or spinal bones, protects the spinal cord and its protective layers. These bones reach from the base of the head to the sacrum, a bone that fits into the pelvis. The number of bones in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions varies. Most humans have seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae, and five lumbar vertebrae.
Functions of the Spine
Taking better care of and minimizing lower back pain entails enabling your lumbar spine to fulfill its roles healthily:
Support for the Structure
We wouldn’t stand, walk, sit up, or run without our spine, which provides structural integrity for the head, shoulders, and chest. It also connects the upper and lower bodies, with the spinal column enveloping the vital cord and nerve roots. The spinal column connects the upper and lower bodies and helps stabilize the body and distribute weight.
The spinal column protects the nerve roots and spinal cord, which carry information throughout the body. Any injury here can jeopardize your general health if impulses are not delivered successfully to and from the brain.
Flexibility and Mobility
Our spine determines our range of motion, providing flexion (forward bending), extension (backward bending), Side bending, and Rotation. It also offers a range of the abovementioned combinations, allowing us to accomplish anything from walking down the stairs, rolling over to getting out of bed in the morning, or sprinting over a puddle of water on the street.
Base for Attachment
Tendons, ligaments, and muscles link and connect to the spinal column, which serves as a connecting device. There would be no anchor if this did not exist.
Because of its critical functions, pain in the lower spine can hurt your quality of life.
Lower Back Pain
Working for extended periods sitting in a chair, especially with bad posture, is harmful to health. The sedentary lifestyle that goes with this prolonged sitting has been linked to several serious illnesses and ailments. The main danger is developing musculoskeletal injuries, including various conditions impacting the joints, bones, and connective tissues. Lower back discomfort is the most frequent type of musculoskeletal problem and is also the most prevalent work-related diagnosis in Western culture, caused primarily by overuse but also by bad posture and prolonged immobilization.
Acute and Chronic Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can have a variety of symptoms depending on nature. Its strength can vary; it can be persistent or abrupt; it can be acute, burning, shooting, dull, etc. Acute back pain is usually only temporary, lasting a few days or weeks, with the aggressive phases lasting between 3 and 7 days. Most people who have acute back pain treat it at home, and it goes away on its own. If left untreated, it might cause a delay in returning to normal and/or cause collateral damage, resulting in chronic back discomfort. Pain is considered chronic after 12 weeks of continuous pain, but it can persist considerably longer.
Lower back pain risks might be physical and/or hereditary, but they can also be associated with your lifestyle. The more of these lifestyle factors you have, the more likely you are to acquire acute and chronic lumbar pain. The following are the key risk factors:
- Posture: Slumping and hunching might worsen diseases or injuries, exacerbating your back pain.
- Fitness level: A lack of regular exercise and physical fitness diminishes your back and abdominal muscles, leading to incorrect spine support.
- Age: Around the age of 30, you begin to be at risk of lower back pain, and the risk grows with age. This is caused by natural depreciation and the aging process, which affects muscle elasticity, bone strength, and disc health.
- Weight gain: Excess weight, as well as rapid and significant weight growth, can place pressure on the spine and put you at risk of getting back discomfort.
- Workplace: If your employment includes many repetitive motions and heavy lifting, you are at a greater risk of acquiring lower back discomfort. A work that forces you to sit on an uncomfortable chair with unergonomic equipment and furniture for extended periods also qualifies.
- Mental health: Anxiety and depression can heighten awareness and intensify existent back pain, and immobility caused by mental illness can also create back problems. Excessive stress also affects the body, causing muscular tension and stiffness of the back muscles. Chronic back pain might impact your mental health and contribute to depression or other psychological illnesses.
Prevention and Management
Depending on the severity of your back pain, healthcare providers may offer various therapies, ranging from drugs to, in rare circumstances, surgery. However, there are numerous things you can do at work and at home to help relieve and avoid back discomfort.
Your way of life may be creating your back discomfort. Here are a few things you should consider to ensure that you are not exacerbating the situation in your daily life.
The importance of strengthening your core and back muscles in avoiding and alleviating chronic back pain cannot be overstated. While these activities should be avoided during the acute period, they are essential to include in your program in the long run.
Your body weight is distributed unevenly on your spine when you have bad posture, weakening and damaging your lower back. It causes tension, which might lead to injuries and damages.
The more weight you carry on your body, the more pressure there is on your spine, especially if you have extra weight around your waist, which drags your pelvis forward and puts strain on your lumbar muscles and ligaments.
Back discomfort is commonly caused by improper or heavy lifting, but it isn't limited to folks who move big boxes on the job. Carry less, distribute the weight to both sides of your body, or move the weight from shoulder to shoulder whenever necessary to relieve the strain on your shoulders.
Work-related back discomfort is frequently caused by wrong non-ergonomic workplace furniture and long stretches of inactivity. You can do several measures to build a workplace environment and a pattern that benefits rather than harms your back. Establishing a workplace with ergonomically designed furniture will improve your quality of living as well as your relationship with work. Because we spend so much time at our desks, it's no surprise that office furniture is a significant contributor to the most common work-related in-office pain grievance: lower back discomfort. Consider the following to be the essential elements of an ergonomic workplace:
- Ergonomic office chair
- Height-adjustable standing desk or desk riser
- Monitor arms
- Monitor mounts
- Laptop risers or stand
- Task lamp or desk lamp
- Keyboard tray
- External keyboard and mouse (for laptop users)
- Anti-fatigue mat
Acute and chronic pain require different approaches, but there are things you can do at home to help relieve pain in the short- and long - term.
- While the use of ice is debatable, most individuals agree that cooling the affected area lowers inflammation and pain.
- Analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, and topical pain treatment are all available over-the-counter.
- Complete bed rest is not recommended for persons suffering from lower back pain, but take a break from your activities and do some stretching.
Lower back pain is commonly caused by improper or heavy lifting, but it isn't limited to folks who move big boxes on the job. Carry lighter, distribute the weight both to sides of your body, or move the weight from shoulder to shoulder whenever necessary to relieve the strain on your shoulders.