Can I injure My Back While Sitting?

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Which activity has no risk of neck or back injury?

Golf

Gardening

House work

Working at a computer workstation

None of the above

If you answered 'none of the above' you are correct!

Whether you are an athlete, executive, stay at home mom or retired, you are at risk for developing neck and/or back pain. It is not the activities that directly increase your risk, rather the poor posture and body mechanics often displayed during activity that increase your risk for developing neck and/or back pain. Pain prevention is important not only when participating in your favorite recreation or performing daily tasks at home, but at work as well. That's right; you may be placing yourself at risk for neck and/or back pain while at work and not even be aware of it.

There has been an increasing amount of research conducted exploring the relationship between occupation and neck and back pain. The question of who is at risk has been long standing, producing a wide range of answers. This may be attributed to the broad spectrum of job requirements in today's workforce. Some occupations require extraneous physical labor, while others require more sedentary activity. However, do not be fooled into thinking that just because your job requires you to sit for a large portion of your day that you are safe from physical injury.

Low back pain is the most common cause of disability and lost days of work for individuals under the age of 45.1 This statistic places components of the workplace under continuous review for not only efficiency but safety. A review of past literature demonstrated that awkward seating postures with increased or decreased curvature of the spine affected the vertebral disc; placing posture among potential risk factors for low back pain. Additional research is needed to further understand the impact of our evolving work environments on spine health.

Practicing proper posture and establishing appropriate workstation ergonomics is a common neck and back pain prevention strategy. Remember, it is important to maintain spine alignment at all times. Work station components that influence your posture can include: chair, computer monitor, and keyboard. A little adjustment to your current workstation now, may prevent you from developing neck and back pain later. Set your work station for success. Click here to view an example of an ergonomically correct work station.

(Ergonomic Workstation worksheet provided by AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab)

References

Lis, A., Black, K., Korn, H., and Nordin, M. (2007). Association between sitting and occupational LBP. European Spine Journal , 16, 283-298.

Pynt, J., Higgs, J., and Mackey, M. (2002). Historical Perspective Milestones in the Evolution of Lumbar Spinal Postural Health in Seating. Spine , 27 (19), 2180-2189.

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