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Back pain: Working in a career where your back hurts? How to remedy the ache

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The two top industries with high rates of workers with back pain include construction and agriculture, forestry and fishing. If treated early and appropriately, recovery is possible.

According to the report, the main work factors contributing to musculoskeletal disorders were:

  • Manual Handling
  • Working in awkward or tiring positions
  • Repetitive work

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) lists work tasks that can cause back pain, or make existing pain worse:

  • Lifting heavy or bulky loads
  • Carrying loads awkwardly, possibly one-handed
  • Pushing, pulling or dragging heavy loads
  • Manual handling in awkward places, such as during delivery work
  • Repetitive tasks, such as packing products
  • Bending, crouching or stooping
  • Stretching, twisting and reaching
  • Being in one position for a long time
  • Working beyond your capability or when physically overtired
  • Working with display screen equipment (with poor posture)

Driving long distances or over rough ground, especially if the seat is not, or cannot be, properly adjusted or operating heavy equipment (for example excavators)

The Blackberry Clinic have recognised that bricklayers, especially, suffer from a disc protrusion.

This involves instability in the L4/5 or L5/S1 disc – seen in people in their 20s and 30s.

The older generation are more likely to suffer from arthritis, or sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Disc protrusion

Known as a “slipped disc”, Dr Mark Miller explained spinal disc problems lead to back pain.

This occurs when the protruding disc “encroaches on nearby nerves”, otherwise you may be unaware you have the condition.

There may be pain the thoracic (mid back) region or in the lumbar (lower back) region.

“Correctly diagnosing a protruding disc relies on a detailed medical history and physicians paying extremely close attention to the symptoms,” stated Dr Millar.

He attests that physicians “play a vital role in the diagnosis” – so don’t ignore back pain, visit your GP as soon as possible.

Treatments can include pain medication and physiotherapy; for severe cases, surgery may be considered.

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Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Spine-health notes sacroiliac joint dysfunction specifically causes lower back and/or leg pain.

It’s estimates that the sacroiliac joint is responsible for up to 30 percent of lower back pain cases.

This joint connects the hip bones to the sacrum – the triangular bone between the lumbar spine and the tailbone.

The back pain can feel dull, aching, and can range from mild to severe.

For pain relief, spine-health recommend applying ice or heat compresses to the affected area.

Ice can help to reduce inflammation to alleviate pain and discomfort, whereas hear can reduce muscle spasms and tension.

Both are effective pain relief methods worth trying, alongside over-the-counter pain relievers.

It’s worthwhile seeing a professional chiropractor who provides manual manipulation to restore normal range off motion.

The NHS encourage “to keep moving” and to do “simple back exercises and stretches”.

To help stretch your back, Versus Arthritis suggests lying on your back with your hands above your head.

The next step is to bend your knees and roll them slowly to one side, while keeping your feet on the floor.

Hold the position for 10 seconds, and repeat three times on each side.

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