Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed workdays in the United States, second only to the flu. In fact, a study from the Integrated Benefits Institute claims that U.S. companies lose about $34,600 per 100 employees annually due to missed workdays. Even if someone suffering from back pain decides to report for work, there is a good chance that he or she will be less productive.
Employees will often experience acute back pain from time to time. There are occasions, however, when acute back pain becomes a chronic issue due to your employees repeatedly exposing themselves to the following common causes of lower back pain:
A high stress environment can cause back pain for certain individuals. This pain leads to employees experiencing additional stress from dealing with the pain, which in turn leads to further back pain.
- Poor Posture
Poor sitting and standing posture adds an unnecessary amount of pressure on the spine. This can eventually lead to chronic back pain.
- Sedentary Lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle has a tendency to leave body structures weak and may cause back pain. Similarly, sedentary lifestyles can lead to being overweight, which exacerbate back pain.
- Repetitive Motions
If your employees repeatedly lift and set down heavy items, their back pain may be the result of the burden of repetitive motions.
Slipping, falling, and other such accidents can cause an injury to the back or the spine.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help your employees avoid developing lower back pain. Now that you know the common causes of back pain, you can create new policies targeted to reduce your employee’s exposure to them. Occupational health services often recommend these five simple steps:
Remind Employees to Get Proper Sleep
Our bodies undergo a process of self-repair while we sleep. Not getting enough sleep means that the self-repair process is cut short. Be sure to remind employees to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. You also may want to avoid asking employees to work overtime unless absolutely necessary.
Encourage Employees to Move Around
Instead of your employees browsing the Internet during their 15 minute break, encourage them to walk around and stretch. This will help keep the back limber and reduce the chances of back pain.
Have Employees See a Medical Professional
You may want to set up a program where your employees visit occupational health service providers for physical checkups. These checkups can help prevent back pain from becoming worse. Some providers, such as U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group, may even offer therapy services such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and other treatments that can help alleviate back pain.
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