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In a recent informal survey, the following occupations were found to cause the most stress and strains on the muscles of the back.

Auto mechanics work in physically awkward positions all day long.

Nursing home workers and CNAs have to lift elderly and ill people into and out of bed. The workers’ bodies can become twisted and off-center.

Delivery drivers are always running on a fast schedule, often carrying heavy and awkward packages. Packages shipped via UPS, FedEx, etc., have increased in weight over the years. The job also involves a lot of driving.

Firefighters/EMTs deal with fire, water pressure from hoses and other heavy equipment. They often carry people to safety, which is particularly difficult if the victim is obese or incapacitated.

Shingle roofers are always twisting their bodies.

Farmers lift heavy equipment and bags of feed and grain. When doing fieldwork, they have to frequently turn backward to watch equipment that is pulled behind a tractor.

Police officers sit in their cars for long periods of time, which is rough on the lower back. When called into action, they have to make sudden movements and often face resistance from those they are arresting. Police officers also wear belts that can weigh up to 40 pounds, which can cause chronic back pain.

Landscapers lift heavier objects, in awkward positions, than most other professions.

Construction workers’ jobs can involve bending, lifting, twisting—all in very awkward positions.

Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers endure constant compression and vibration from trucks. This can lead to back pain and other spinal related conditions. Prolonged sitting puts pressure on the spine, which can result in disc degeneration.  Also, because professional truck drivers are always on the road, their diets are seldom what they should be, which can contribute to back problems.

While you aren't always able change your career or your job tasks, there are steps you can take to help improve body mechanics and reduce pain.  Follow these suggestions:

• Maintain proper posture,

• Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes,

• Alternate tasks that use different muscle groups,

• Take periodic stretch breaks and

• Be sure to lift with the knees, keep objects close to the body and not twist when lifting.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.com

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