Occupational Lower Back Pain

22 April, 2023

“Lower Back Pain as an occupational disorder“

Occupational Lower Back Pain is the largest single health problem related to work absenteeism, and the most common cause of incapacity among workers younger than forty-five years old.

Worldwide, 37% of LBP was attributed to occupation!

Occupational LBP accounts for 70% of sick days!

LBP consistently creates huge expenditures and time loss from work. Employees whose job involves lifting, bending, twisting or repetitive spinal movements are most at risk for these injuries. This type of LBP is classified as kinetic or dynamic overload injury.

Acute LBP is almost never related to one specific event, but rather is the culmination of a long history of improper mechanics and micro-trauma to the spine.

As apposed to kinetic injury, static or postural LBP is also a huge problem for “desk jockeys,” or those who sit for prolonged periods of time. Lack of movement can sometimes be as detrimental as too much movement.

Ergonomic interventions , are crucial for the prevention of occupational LBP. To summarize, the risk factors for occupational LBP are:

  • cumulative traumas
  • dynamic activity-trunk flexion and rotation, heavy physical work, bending or squatting, lifting or carrying loads
  • long work shifts without pauses
  • static and inadequate postures

Heavy lifting, repetitive movements and sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on your back.

Whether it’s dull and achy or sharp and stabbing, back pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. Unfortunately, many occupations can place significant demands on your back. Even routine office work can cause or worsen back pain. Understand what causes back pain at work and what you can do to prevent it.

What are the common causes of back pain at work?

A number of factors can contribute to back pain at work. For example:

  • Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
  • Repeating certain movements can lead to muscle fatigue or injury.
  • Slouching exaggerates your back’s natural curves, which can lead to muscle fatigue and injury.

Of course, certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors — such as obesity, sleeping position, poor physical condition, smoking and stress — also can contribute to back pain.

Back pain can plague your workdays and free time. You’re not stuck with it, though. Take time to examine your work environment and address situations that might aggravate your back. Even simple steps to ease back pain are steps in the right direction.

The enormous socioeconomic burden of low back pain emphasizes the need for effective management of this problem, especially in an occupational context.

Establishing causal links between occupational risk factors and prevalence of lower back pain, thus becomes essential for effective management of the same. Although numerous physical activities have been implicated in its complex etiology, determining causation remains challenging and requires a methodologically rigorous approach. It hence becomes very important for companies to be aware regarding occupational hazards affecting back pain and take efficient steps for the same.