Ergonomic Articles

Your job may be causing more than just stress

By Angela Hendricks | Added 2015-06-11

As you will see by the upcoming articles, ergonomics play a huge role in workplace comfort. Whether an injury occurs in or out of an office, bad ergonomic factors can add further discomfort. Your work posture, how you carry yourself at the gym and even how you sleep, are all factors that affect your body health. But when it comes to the workplace, with the right ergonomics, injury can be easily prevented.

Lower back pain, or LBP, plagues almost all of us at one time or another in our lives. With over 80% of people suffering from lower back injuries, doing what you can to prevent and rectify it, will save you a lot of spine pain and strain.

One of the main causes of Lower back pain is inactivity and bad ergonomic practices. Lifestyles that are sedentary can lead to obesity, weakening of core muscles, improper posture and LBP. LBP can be localised (at the point of the injury or strain) like an injury from lifting something too heavy or referred (felt in other areas of the body) like pain down the leg, muscle aches, and spasms in a variety of places from the buttocks to your sides when coughing.

As previously discussed, herniated discs can be a direct result of sitting for prolonged periods in an unnatural spine position. Curving your back poorly and slouching puts pressure on your vertebra and your discs and can cause a lot of frustration and pain. When aggravated by lifting something heavy or a twisting of the body, those discs can move and put painful pressure on your back nerves.

Facet joints are the points where each vertebra overlaps another and a spraining of these joints can also cause, among other injuries such as spasms and nerve damage, LBP. It is because of this that we always suggest, should the stretches not have relieved your pain within a week, to consult a physio or a doctor if the pain persists.

One of the best ways to soothe the pain and discomfort of LBP is with cold and hot presses. Whether you have a spasm or just general aches from a stressful week, ice is a great way to treat an injury within the first days.  For chronic sufferers of fatigued muscles, heat will help increase blood supply to the area for better healing and is an awesome way to heat up your muscles before doing some healthy stretches.

These LBP stretches as mentioned in our previous articles include a series of stretches to treat hamstring, lumbar and leg muscles. Stretching is a great way to lengthen shortened muscles, increase flexibility and relieve joint pain. For a full breakdown of exercises, refer to the exercise sheet given in our lower back stretches article.

Another sure way of improving back health is to increase your core strength. This is because your core muscles act as stability for your back and when weakened force your body to use muscles it shouldn’t to create stability. From yoga, to exercise ball workouts and Pilates, there are a variety of ways you can strengthen your deep core muscles and therefore relieve and treat LBP. These deep muscles have an important job and whether you gym or not, your body will thank you for strengthening them.

Last but certainly not least, posture. As we learned in the previous article, learning to make sure you keep a neutral spine, whether sitting or standing, will help keep soft tissue healthy and therefore alleviate spine pressure. Making sure you have an ergonomically sound office chair to keep your spine correctly curved is one of the most important things you can do for your back health. As is proper workplace ergonomics with proper workstation set-up!

Next, we will help you learn how headaches and neck pain originate so that you have the knowledge to prevent and relieve this pain.


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