Recognizing Work-Related Factors Contributing to Back Aches

Recognizing Work-Related Factors Contributing to Back Aches


Backaches are widespread. Poor posture, age, genetics and lifestyle choices can all cause it. But, studies have found work can too! These ‘work-related musculoskeletal disorders’ (MSDs) are worrying employers. They lead to staff being off work, a drop in productivity and people making claims.

Backaches are one of the most common MSD causes. Heavy lifting, operating machines and doing office tasks can all lead to backaches. To prevent this, employers need to recognize the potential hazards of different jobs. They should also understand how these hazards increase the risk of backaches. This article looks at how to identify work-related causes of backaches, and how employers can help reduce the risk.

Causes of Back Aches

Backaches are widespread. There are plenty of things that can trigger them. Poor posture, lifting, and repeating the same movement over and over during work can be the cause.

Knowing and understanding the causes of backaches in the workplace can help us reduce the pain and be healthier. In this article, we will look into the work-related factors that can result in backaches:

Poor Posture

Poor posture can be a cause of back pain. It can come from bending at the waist, or sitting/standing too long. Slouching while seated or working puts extra pressure on the neck and back, making muscles tired and strained.

Standing at work for too long can make your thighs, hips, chest, and upper back tight. This can then cause neck and shoulder pain, and if left untreated, it can spread down the spine.

To avoid bad posture-related pains at work, take regular breaks from sitting. Use good body mechanics when bending/lifting – keep your chest out and core engaged. Lastly, stretch throughout the day to keep your muscles relaxed and reduce fatigue. This will help stop long-term damage from muscle strain.

Unsupportive Office Chairs

Lower back discomfort can be a result of many factors. Unsupportive office chairs are often to blame for spine strain and chronic pain. It’s important for those who work at a desk to get appropriate support for their entire spine: neck, upper back and lumbar area.

Warning signs that your chair isn’t providing enough support:

  • Poor posture while sitting
  • Fidgeting or shifting positions
  • Numbness or pins-and-needles in arms/legs
  • Stiffness after sitting
  • Trouble standing up straight
  • Pain when getting out of seat

Ergonomic office chairs should have adjustable features for different body types. Armrests make it easier to focus without relying on shoulders, while backrests provide lumbar support by using your body’s natural curvature. When selecting an office chair, it’s beneficial to make sure it fits correctly to avoid tension or fatigue.

Prolonged Sitting

Sitting for too long can be risky! It can cause weakened muscles, resulting in strain and back pain. Muscles become stiff and unable to absorb shocks or stress, leading to injury or ache. Too much sitting can also increase pressure on intervertebral discs, which can cause herniation and sciatica.

Additionally, if you don’t take breaks, blood circulation is limited, causing numbness and fatigue when you move!

Repetitive Movements

Back aches can have multiple causes. Repetitive motions, such as lifting, carrying, twisting and working with hand tools, all put strain on the spine. If you don’t vary your posture while performing these tasks, it could lead to back pain.

To prevent this, keep track of how long and often you do these tasks. Taking breaks during repetitious tasks also helps reduce strain. Remember that even small movements add up over time!

Lifting Heavy Objects

Backaches at work can often be caused by lifting heavy objects improperly. Many employees forget to use their legs, not their backs, for big tasks. Even when dealing with smaller items, safety is key.

  • Assess the weight of the item before attempting to lift it.
  • Get help if it’s too heavy for you.
  • Check for potential obstacles and hazards in the environment.
  • Place your feet apart and bend your knees for leverage.
  • Keep your back straight and avoid twisting when lifting. This will protect your spine from strain.

Prevention Strategies

Back aches from work can have long-lasting effects. So, it’s important to have strategies to reduce their occurrence. To do this, individuals must recognize the things causing their back ache. This part will talk about how to recognize the major things that can lead to more back ache. These include:

  • Ergonomics and the work environment.

Adjusting Your Desk

Maximize ergonomic design of your workstation by adjusting the height of your desk, chair, and monitor. Sitting too low or too high is not effective for any posture.

  • Place feet flat on the floor without stretching or raising. If needed, use a foot support that is adjustable, stable, and strong.
  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to sit as upright as possible, with a gap between the backrest and yourself. Ensure the chair dimension fits body contours for optimal comfort.
  • Keep two arm’s length distance from monitors and other large computer components. For one desktop setup, adjust accordingly.

Having an adjustable workstation is beneficial. It can lead to improved comfort, productivity, and safety. Adjusting the workspace according to employee preferences can reduce the risk of Potential Musculoskeletal Disorders (PMDS) and keep employees comfortable all day.

Investing in an Ergonomic Chair

Invest in an ergonomic chair to prevent backaches and aches. It’s designed to fit you and provide support for your spine. Look for full adjustability, optimum support, and proper construction. This will help reduce the stress on your body from sitting for too long. High-quality materials are essential for long-term comfort. Steel and aluminum frames with heavy-duty casters are a must. Investing in an ergonomic chair could lessen your risk of chronic back pain.

Taking Breaks

It’s essential for workers to take short breaks throughout the day. Even if the job requires repeated motions, taking a break can help reduce strain on the back and shoulders. Doing small activities with short rests in between can assist in avoiding overexertion, fatigue, and eventually an injury.

A break doesn’t mean going on vacation or taking a leave. It involves doing activities to relax your body and mind for a couple of minutes. Examples include:

  • Getting up from the desk and walking around.
  • Taking deep breaths.
  • Stretching.

If done periodically, strategically taking breaks can avoid fatigue and maintain an ergonomic posture during long periods of sitting or standing.

Improving Your Posture

Good posture is essential to reduce strain on the back. Sitting and standing in healthy postures keeps your bones and muscles aligned. To improve your posture, follow these steps:

  1. Sit with your back straight, using the chair’s lumbar support to avoid slouching.
  2. When standing, keep your shoulders back and chest spread downwards. Bend knees slightly.
  3. Avoid arching or rounding your back. Keep spine in neutral position.
  4. Elevate head above shoulders. Move head when turning body, not just neck.
  5. When sitting, rest feet flat on floor. Stand with one foot slightly inclined over other.
  6. Choose a mattress that provides cushioning and support. Soft can cause too much sink. Hard can lack cushioning. Read reviews to find the best mattress.
  7. Remember to change positions throughout the day. This gives physical rest and varied activity.

By improving posture, you can reduce strain on your back and project confidence.

Exercising Regularly

Regular exercise is a good way to prevent back pain that comes from work. It releases natural pain relievers called endorphins. These help ease muscle tension, improve posture, and reduce the chance of musculoskeletal problems. Strengthening exercises for core muscles also help with posture and back strain.

Exercises that are good for preventing work-related back pain include Pilates, yoga, swimming, and cycling. Sticking to a routine exercise plan will also keep your fitness levels up, which helps protect you from injury when doing work.


So, work-related issues can lead to back pain. These include sitting or standing for long periods, lifting heavy objects, and having a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to recognize these factors and make changes to reduce strain on the body.

Ergonomic assessments, job rotation, and physical therapy could help too. Taking action to reduce discomfort during work hours can not only make the workplace safer, but it may also help productivity in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some common work-related factors that contribute to back aches?

A: Sitting for extended periods of time, lifting heavy objects, poor posture, and repetitive motions are all common work-related factors that can contribute to back aches.

Q: How can I prevent back aches from occurring at work?

A: Taking frequent breaks to stretch and move around, using proper lifting techniques, maintaining good posture, and using ergonomic equipment can all help prevent back aches at work.

Q: What should I do if I experience a back ache at work?

A: First, try to identify the cause of the back ache and address it by using the prevention techniques mentioned above. If the pain persists, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.

Q: Can stress at work contribute to back aches?

A: Yes, stress can cause tension in the muscles of the back, leading to back aches. It is important to manage stress through techniques such as exercise, meditation, or talking with a therapist to prevent this from happening.

Q: Is it safe to ignore back aches and continue working?

A: No, ignoring back aches can lead to further injury or chronic pain. It is important to address the cause of the back ache and take steps to prevent it from worsening.

Q: What types of exercise can help strengthen my back and prevent back aches?

A: Exercises that strengthen the core, such as planks and sit-ups, as well as exercises that stretch the back, such as yoga, can help prevent back aches by improving posture and reducing muscle tension.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

Related Articles