How to help your back at home and at work


At Home

  • Gentle, regular exercise strengthens the back muscles.
  • Bend your knees and hips, not your back, and try to prevent bending and twisting at the same time.
  • Lift and carry objects close to your body.
  • Drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day as it is thought that dehydration may increase the risk of back pain.
  • Maintain good posture - avoid slumping in your chair or hunching over a desk.
  • Ensure your mattress supports the spine in the correct anatomical position.
  • Use a chair with a backrest and sit with your feet on the floor or footrest.
  • Change your sitting position every few minutes.
  • Take regular breaks when driving long distances.

Posture Perfect

When standing and walking you can maintain a good posture using the following tips:

  • Stand tall.
  • Hold your head high and neck directly over your shoulders.
  • Keep your chin tucked in slightly.
  • Pull your stomach in.
  • Roll your hips slightly backward.
  • Tighten your buttock muscles.
  • If you carry a shoulder bag, alternate the shoulder on which you carry it.

In the Workplace

Lifting, bending or moving heavy objects can all lead to back problems, but so too can spending long periods of time in the same position.
Try these simple back-saving tips at work:-
  • Desk chairs should be properly adjusted. Knees should be level with, or slightly lower than your hips and feet should be flat on the floor. If your chair doesn't provide enough back support, you may need to invest in a lumbar support.
  • A computer monitor should be about 30cm to 75cm from your eyes, which is roughly arm's length from the face when the top of the monitor is just below eye level.
  • Wrists should be straight when using a computer keyboard, not bent up or down .
  • Frequently used objects, such as telephones or staplers should be positioned within easy reach to avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting.
  • Cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder can strain the neck muscles. Workers using the phone a lot during the day should consider a head set.

Know Your Rights

Under the Health and Safety Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to their employees and are responsible for maintaining their workers' health and wellbeing in the workplace. In jobs involving lifting or moving heavy weights, employers have a responsibility to show staff how to lift safely and provide equipment where appropriate.

If you experience regular aches and pains at work, speak to your occupational health department or General Practitioner. You can ask Andrew Gilmour for advice. Mail

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