Back Pain: The hidden epidemic in the workplace

Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the world, affecting many around us. Within the United States, there are approximately 31 million Americans experiencing back pains at any given time leading to $50 billion in healthcare cost a year. Together with lost wages and decreased productivity, it rises to $100 billion.

Back pain is often believed to be a result of an injury. That is possible but the causes of back pains are far and wide. Back pain has been known to be largely due to our sedentary lifestyle and sitting posture. It is no surprise when our jobs consist of us sitting in front of a computer 8 hours a day or more 5 days a week.

Just a few decades ago, it would be hard to imagine spending the day looking into the same lighted box. As technology progresses, work has been increasingly digital and less physical. A poll has found that an office worker spends an average of six and half hours a day sitting at their computer or laptop. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to a shocking 1700 hours a year. The sedentary lifestyle is here to stay and back pains will continue to affect more and more each year.

Why aren’t people taking measures to combat back pains at work? Surprisingly, back pain is often caused by the bad habits cultivated in our sedentary lifestyle. Not exercising is the top reason why many office workers experience unnecessary back pains. As the population become increasingly sedentary, exercise becomes more important. The back muscles which provide support for the spine, tends to weaken over time and gets easily strained leading to back pains.

Another piece of the puzzle is poor posture. Slouching is an example of bad posture. It overstretches the spinal ligaments and strains the surround muscles around the spine. A person might not feel the effects of a bad posture immediately, but over time it will result in recurrent back pains. Studies have shown that back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.

So what can we do to prevent back pains, or at least reduce it? Exercising is the most important as it helps to strengthen the back muscles. There are many workouts that can be done daily and quickly without any hassle. Having a proper posture while working is also very important. An example of a good posture is to have your back flush against the chair and shoulders tall, with your head level over the spine. Office space ergonomics such as adjustable monitor arms helps us to keep our posture upright by freely moving the screen to our eye level, instead of us slouching to its level.

If you have been facing recurrent episodes of back pains, it is advisable to visit your doctor to have a check up to determine the actual cause of the pain.

Good posture starts with your desk. Re-design your workspace and your computer workshop to avoid back pain and neck pain. At Infinitearm, we sell adjustable monitor arms to ensure a healthy working environment for everyone. Click here to have a look at our products: www.infinitearm.sg/Monitor-arm/