If you work in any type of job that requires lifting, digging, digging, or bending, you’re at risk for a back injury. The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health reports that back injuries are a common occupational injury, accounting for a large amount of workers’ compensation claims.
While some people, who suffer from a back injury, go back to work after a few weeks, others may experience debilitating back pain for a far longer time.
Naturally, if you work in a manual job, you’re probably aware that lifting heavy objects puts you at risk for back stress and strain.
Therefore, if you’re an office worker, you might not think that your work poses the same type of threat. However, if you sit at a desk all day and pivot or twist to use monitors, the risk of a back injury is much higher than you might expect.
Many back injuries occur from lifting and moving objects. Therefore, both the manual worker and the office worker are at risk. Moreover, desk workers often get hit with back pain because they’re not normally all that active while working.
In fact, according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina, heavy lifting, regardless of the workplace setting, leads to many of the claims filed for back injuries. Researchers noted that people missed workdays a good deal because of back and shoulder injuries.
Overexertion and the cumulative effects of trauma were the main reasons people got injured over time. Bending, followed by movements, such as turning and twisting, were commonly cited for back or spinal damage.
It stands to reason that if you don’t move your muscles regularly, they’ll eventually become weaker. This makes them more prone to injury.
While you might think that merely sitting at a desk will not hurt your back, it can do a great deal of damage. If you’re not given the proper equipment or are straining your back or neck while keying in information, you can pinch a nerve or suffer a spinal injury over time.
For instance, sitting hunched at your computer or craning your neck places intense strain on the back. If you’re not sitting on an ergonomically friendly chair, you’re going to complain about back pain eventually.
Also, if you sit for hours on end and do not walk or take breaks, you’ll begin to feel the effects, usually in your lower back.
Even workers who take more breaks still have complaints, especially if they’re sitting on a standard desk chair, or one that does not accommodate their physical requirements while performing tasks.
Tips for Preventing Back Pain in Office Settings
To combat a problem with back pain at work, you need to use ergonomic furniture and equipment and stretch or walk regularly. To prevent problems with back or spinal pain, you need to make certain provisions.
Use an Ergonomic Keyboard
People who use computers may experience joint pains or carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their lives. These conditions are caused by using computers repetitively, or tensing when using a keyboard.
To combat this problem, it helps to use an ergonomic keyboard. This type of keyboard minimizes wrist strain – great for anyone who regularly types.
Stretch and Move Around Regularly
While working at a desk, again, you’re probably not getting enough physical activity to maintain your muscle strength.
Therefore, you may find that you have a lot of energy at the end of the day. Often, this excess energy is stored in the muscles, which may lead to tightness and muscular pain. You need to stretch throughout the day before you sit down or when taking a call.
Learning More about the Spine and Back Pain
To understand how back pain develops, you have to understand how the spine is structured. This part of the body represents the bony framework that protects the bundle of nerves that connect the body with brain activity.
These vertebrae and the soft material around them-the discs-safeguard the spinal cord’s nerves while permitting movement at the same time.
The spine is made up of three primary parts – parts that make up the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (chest), and the mid to lower back (lumbar area). Ligaments, tendons, and muscles are part of the spinal column and therefore react to how you position or align your body.
Accidents that Happen in Office Settings that Lead to Back Injuries
While a back injury can develop over time from sitting on the wrong type of chair or using the wrong type of equipment, this type of pain may also happen from an accident. In this case, falls account for most of the disabling back injuries in offices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Office workers, in fact, are two times more likely to suffer from a disabling injury from falling than people who do not work in an office. For instance, according to statistics, workers may hurt their back or receive a similar injury after tripping over a desk drawer left open or catching a foot on electrical cabling or wiring. Sometimes, people trip from objects left out in the hall.
Workers in an office setting may also get injured if they reach for an object while sitting in an unstable chair, or when using a chair to grab something in a high place instead of a ladder. Slipping on a wet floor is often a common reason for workplace back injury.
Common Workers’ Compensation Back and Spinal Injuries
Below are common back or spinal injuries that office workers often experience when filing workers’ compensation claims.
Whiplash (Neck and Upper Back Strain)
Whiplash is a common injury of the upper spine. While it often develops after a car accident or rear-ends collision, it can also happen if you are too forceful when you move heavy packages or objects on a regular basis. Symptoms related to whiplash include blurred vision, a stiff neck, upper back pain, and headaches.
Thoracic Spinal Injuries Related to Bid Back Pain
Permanent nerve damage may result from a thoracic spinal injury. Reduced range of motion and muscle spasms can result from this type of back condition as well. You may also experience shoulder pain, or pain in the ribs, arms, fingers, and neck.
Injuries in the Lumbar Region on the Spine and Back
The lumbar region of the back bears a great deal of weight. Large muscles support the five large vertebrae in this section, which also connects with the abdomen and hips. Many people who work in office jobs frequently suffer sprains and strains in the lower back, both of which are restrictive and painful.
Some people complain of tenderness and soreness while others have problems performing daily activities.
Also called a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc happens when a vertebrae disc moves or is displaced. This causes the bones to press on the nerves, which leads to discomfort and pain. While some people experience a dull ache, others may complain of debilitating and shooting pain. Burning and tingling and muscle weakness may also result from this type of back injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord pain may result from a workplace accident, leading to damage of the vertebrae, including the discs or ligaments in the spine. Medical complications can result from this type of damage, and patients often require surgery. In some cases, semi or full paralysis may result.
Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can put a lot of strain on your body. You can adjust your chair to the right height, use an ergonomic keyboard to minimize strain on your wrists, and stretch when you can to remove any problems with tightness.
If you do discover that the work you do has led to the development of a back injury, contact a doctor right away to get a diagnosis and to learn more about treatment. You’ll also need to notify your employer about the work-related injury.
Filing a worker’s compensation claim with the help of a worker’s compensation lawyer will help you get the compensation you need to quickly mend and heal from your workplace injury.
Contact Belal Hamideh Law About Your Back Injury Workers’ Compensation Claim
To get further information about filing a claim for a back injury or any type of injury related to the spinal column, contact the law firm of Belal Hamideh today. Phone (562) 526-1224 for all the details now.