The average American spends about 44 hours per week at work. If you work for 40 years, that equates to more than 90,000 hours of your life spent on the job. Whether you’re working moving up the corporate ladder or just trying doing what you can to pay the bills, the nature of your profession and the demands it places on your time both have a direct impact on your health.
When it comes to spine health, not every job is created equal. Some jobs are particularly “back-breaking,” while others are far gentler on your bones, joints and muscles. So what are the worst jobs for your back? Here’s our top 10, plus tips for making each one less of a pain.
If you carry your child for any length of time during the day — and, if you have a baby or young children, there’s no doubt that you do — all that extra weight is putting additional strain on your back. Not to mention all the gear (toys, car seats, strollers, etc.) that goes along with being the parent of a young child. Even hauling a bulky diaper bag can take a toll on your back.
Tip: Consider a backpack diaper bag rather than an over-the-shoulder bag and invest in a wearable child carrier to help lighten the load.
Most factory and manufacturing work requires performing the same movements over and over again for a prolonged period of time. This causes muscle weakness and fatigue and can also lead to disorders as a result of the repetitive movement.
Tip: Take regular breaks to check your posture. Vary your tasks whenever you are able to help avoid muscle fatigue and injury.
Spending your day hunched over cars can easily cause pain or even injury. All the bending, twisting and arching motions you have to take to diagnose and fix automotive ills can put a significant strain on your back.
Tip: To prevent back injury from over-stretching your back, stand as close to the part of the car you’re working on at the time.
Anyone working in a warehouse likely has a physically demanding job involving lifting, pushing and pulling heavy loads. This type of activity puts warehouse workers at risk of a back injury.
Tip: If the load is too heavy to lift alone, always team lift, or use a cart or forklift.
Yes, even being a dentist can be bad for your back. Why? Dentists spent a great deal of their day bent over patients performing procedures for long periods of time. They also twist and bend their upper backs and necks reaching for dental tools.
Tip: Always us good lighting and magnification while working on patients to help keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. If possible, use chair arms to provide support while performing dental procedures.
As expected, any manual labor typically involves lifting heavy loads, performing repetitive tasks and much bending and twisting. Manual labor could lead to a number of back problems, such as a herniated disc, which may even require back surgery.
Tip: Always wear a pair of supportive shoes and consider a back brace to help protect your back from injury due to excessive lifting and twisting.
Sitting for long periods of time can be just as bad (or worse) for your back as a job that requires lifting heavy objects. Sitting all day leads to poor posture, neck pain and back pain.
Tip: Get up from your chair at least once every hour. Stretch. Take a walk around the office. Schedule walking meetings when possible. Consider working at a standing desk, as doing so will allow you to take the strain off your low back and work on your posture.
Caring for others in a hospital or doctor’s office requires long hours on your feet, bending to help with procedures, transferring patients and moving medical equipment. All of this could cause back pain or injury.
Tip: Take a break every hour or two to stretch your spine, roll your shoulders and stretch your hamstrings. If you have a moment to take for some quiet breathing, meditation or yoga, doing so can also help relieve the stress of your job.
Similar to manual labor, construction jobs can put a great deal of strain on your back as this type of work also involves long hours, heavy lifting, twisting and bending for long periods of time.
Tip: Ask for help when lifting anything over 50 pounds. Use carrying tools to get a solid grip on any odd-shaped loads. Take breaks to stretch and relax your back.
Perhaps surprisingly, driving is the profession that a Houston back doctor consider most harmful to your back and neck. And we’re not just talking about truck drivers. Taxi drivers, rideshare drivers and anyone who commutes long distances are all at risk of experiencing back or neck problems from prolonged sitting.
Tip: Adjust your seat to a 100-degree angle to prevent slouching. Move your seat closer to the steering wheel so that you can keep your elbows and knees slightly bent. Never sit on your wallet and use a pillow or rolled towel at the small of your back for increased lumbar (lower back) support.
Is your back suffering because of your job? While many back conditions can be treated with non-invasive therapies, some injuries may require to be examined by a Houston back doctor. Don’t wait to get treatment. Contact a trusted Houston back doctor like Dr. Kushwaha today for a consultation.