Generally speaking, the average bout of back pain lasts about a week, or slightly longer. From time to time, everyone experiences some kind of ache or pain from work or a slight accident.
When these painful conditions last longer than 3 months they are said to be chronic. Unfortunately, about 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain, and this affects, and is sometimes caused by their work roles.
One study found that about 40% of employees who were experiencing some form of pain believed that at least 50% of the problem came from their work. And over 25% didn’t report their symptoms to their employers.
All work-related accidents and conditions should be reported to employers. However, there are many reasons for musculoskeletal pain, and millions of people struggle through their working days in discomfort.
What are the most common types of work-related conditions?
Sitting and bad posture can cause back and neck pain easily, and this is a common condition among office workers. About 42% of individuals who work in offices or a job mainly involving sitting will experience some discomfort every week.
The most common symptoms for office workers are neck pain and lower back. This has led to 44% of respondents in one study saying they had missed work due to an injury.
One chiropractor, Dr. Marghella, lists a few conditions that can be caused by work, or exacerbated including:
- Herniated discs
- Nerve damage
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Many conditions and symptoms are not caused by work, but they can be worsened, and back and foot pain can be hard to cope with on a day-to-day basis.
How can you cope with joint and muscle pain at work?
There are coping mechanisms and ways to relieve foot pain when standing for work and ease back pain too.
Firstly, you should approach your employer. It could be that your physical working conditions need to be altered to help with your pain management and recovery. There are changes you can make to your lifestyle also.
A visit to a chiropractor is one step you can make for assessing the cause of your pain and taking measures to fix the condition. Chiropractors do more than just spinal manipulations, and can even give nutritional guidance. Losing weight might help relieve back pain in some people. Others may need chiropractic adjustments to align the spine and improve health.
Research shows that 43% of workers experience lower back pain at some point, and 37% will have neck pain. Employees have reported work-related pain in their knees (12%), shoulders (31%), and other parts of the body including hands, upper back, and headaches also.
Conditions can be managed in many ways including chiropractic manipulations, massage therapy, and acupuncture. But, when you are in the midst of your working day these remedies are less practical.
Many individuals also turn to alternative medications, such as kratom to alleviate pain, including chronic pain linked to the workplace environment. It is a tropical evergreen tree native to South Asian countries, whose leaves can be used to address many conditions, including chronic muscle and joint pain.
Ways to make your working day more manageable
You can use hot and cold therapy for arthritis, and this helps with inflammation and pain management. Yet, numerous conditions can cause pain while working, and many options will suit different symptoms.
- Comfortable and proper footwear
- Sit and stand desks
- Take breaks and stretch your legs
- Stay hydrated
- Consider your posture
- Move around
- Alter your working environment
- Use corporate health if available
- Take prescribed medicine
Dehydration will make your muscles and joints less pliable. Just staying hydrated at work will help to reduce some pain.
What are the causes of work-related pain?
While you may have a condition caused by a sports-related injury, you could just as easily have pain caused by work-related activities. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people are injured while traveling for work, and 20% of serious car accidents are due to this.
Yet, it is more likely you will suffer pain and aches in joints and muscles due to more common issues such as handling heavy loads or lifting improperly. Any repetitive work practice can cause pain, and slips and falls are common too.
More than 50% of work-related pain comes from strained muscles or sprains. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is the lower back that is most often affected. Your job role may play a heavy part in causing aches and pains too.
The top major occupations for causing pain involve stretching, bending, and twisting repeatedly. These roles include laborers, farm workers, and mechanics.
Trying to grind through the day at work when in pain is no fun at all. Nonetheless, millions of people do it every day, many without reporting their symptoms. Work may not be the cause of your pain, but you can still help yourself to recover by following certain steps.
See a medical professional such as a doctor or a chiropractor, and get diagnosed. Follow whatever recommendations are made, and inform your employer. A change to working conditions can help with recovery, as can simple things such as moving around, changing your footwear, and taking breaks.