Back pain isn’t just miserable; it’s a rising cost of doing business in America. The estimated value of the lost productivity hovers around $300 billion, and that doesn’t even touch the medical (or legal) costs.

Most back problems result from: excessive or repetitive strain, and poor posture. In other words:

  • Too much
  • Too many
  • Wrong position

Preventing Back Injury at Work

Before you become another statistic, you can help protect your back while you work with these important steps:

Lift with Care

Whether you lift a ream of paper every so often, or regularly heft boxes of 50+ pounds, lifting without preparation can result in injury. Learn the proper way to lift in order to protect your back, such as bending at the knees so you can power a lift with your legs, and keeping your arms close to your body to reduce strain caused by holding loads too far away. Seek advice from your supervisor(s), doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or even a qualified gym trainer. Wear a weight belt to protect your low back if your job requires heavy lifting. And know when too much is too much. Stop before you lift something so heavy it injures your back, because that one injury can lead to a chronic condition.

Lift Less Often (or More Efficiently)

When possible, reduce the possibility of injury by reducing repetitions. But depending on your job, that might not be an option. But if you train your body to lift correctly, and develop your form and endurance, your body will feel like it’s lifting less often. With your body better prepared for all that stress, it will be more efficient and less prone to injury.

Straighten Up

A common cause of back pain an injury among all types of workers is related to posture. Even when not lifting, postural issues can be at the root of chronic pain from sitting long hours (perhaps hunched over a keyboard, or without low back—lumbar—support. And reaching awkwardly from a seated or even standing position can put strain on your spine. The rotation, or torque, can cause acute (short term) or chronic (ongoing) injury. Use proper body mechanics and good posture when sitting, standing, and moving, to reduce the chance of injury.

What If I Already Injured My Back?

The above principles may help you to recover more quickly from your back injury, but if you’ve been injured on the job it’s important to notify your company and properly document the incident. Also consult your doctor so that you can receive proper treatment.

You should also explore your options and the benefits that may be available to you through Illinois workers’ compensation. Talk to a qualified Illinois workers’ compensation attorney and get the facts. We’d be happy to help—give us a call at 773-522-7000.

Image courtesy of Ambro at

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