Back pain at work: Preventing pain and injury
Heavy lifting, repetitive movements and sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on your back. Get the facts about back pain at work and how to prevent it.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Whether it's dull and achy or sharp and stabbing, back pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. Unfortunately, many occupations — such as nursing, construction and factory work — 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.
Common causes of back pain at work
A number of factors can contribute to back pain at work. For example:
April 21, 2016
- Force. Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
- Repetition. Repeating certain movements, especially those that involve twisting or rotating your spine, can injure your back.
- Inactivity. An inactive job or a desk job can contribute to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in a chair with inadequate back support.
See more In-depth
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- Muscolino JE. Posture and the gait cycle. In: Kinesiology: The Skeletal System and Muscle Function. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011.
- Everett T, et al. Posture and balance. In: Human Movement: An Introductory Text. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010:61.
- Workstations components — Chairs. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_chair.html. Accessed March 17, 2016.
- How to sit at a computer. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00261. Accessed March 30, 2016.
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- Back pain. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Back_Pain/default.asp#10. Accessed March 31, 2016.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 1, 2016.