The 3 Major Causes Of Workplace Back Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)

It is estimated that more than 600,000 people are injured at work each year. It is therefore, hardly surprising that many patients visiting our Stoke chiropractic clinic do so as a result of a work related injury. Our chiropractors help by providing a combination of chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and advice on the appropriate lifestyle adjustments to make.

However, one of the best ways to avoid injury in the workplace is to be aware of the most common causes of injury. In this guide, our Stoke chiropractor will share those causes and offer some advice on how to mitigate your risk.


Causes Of Workplace Back Injuries

1. Excessive Force

An excessive force injury occurs when too much pressure has been placed on the back. In a workplace setting, the most common causes of this type of injury are:

  • Lifting or moving of heavy objects
  • Twisting the spine while lifting an object
  • Sudden movements which place stress on the back, like a fall
  • Over stretching
  • Vehicle accidents

Excessive force injuries can affect any of the bones, muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, and nerves in the back. The most common injuries include herniated discs, whiplash, and soft tissue injuries. Severe incidents can cause bone fractures and spinal cord injuries.


How To Avoid Excessive Force Injuries

Lift items correctly

Hundreds of workers are forced to visit a chiropractor each year because of an excessive force back injury sustained while lifting. The best way to avoid these types of injuries is to learn proper lifting technique:

  1. Think before you lift
    Where will you be carrying the object? Is the path clear and free of trip hazards? Is it safe to lift the object by yourself or should you seek out help? Is your footwear appropriate? Is there a better way to transport the object like a trolley or wheelbarrow?
  2. Stand close to the object
    Stand directly in front of the object you are about to lift. Adopt a stable position with one leg slightly forward.
  3. Pick up the object
    Lower yourself by bending your legs to pick up the object. A slight bend of the back is fine, but try to focus on using your legs. Grasp the object firmly with both hands then straighten up using your legs.
  4. Move the object
    Hold the object close to your body as you move. Look forward and use your feet to change direction, avoiding any twisting of the spine.
  5. Place the object
    Once more, bend your legs to lower the object.


Learn to use a ladder safely

Ladders remain one of the most common causes of fall injuries in the UK. Learning the correct protocol to use a ladder could save you from suffering a serious injury. This guide from the NHS shares some important tips.


Be careful when driving

If your job involves a lot of driving, take steps to improve your driving skills and use caution while on the roads. Defensive driving courses are often useful for workers who spend a lot of time driving.


2. Repetition

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are injures caused by repetitive movement and overuse. These types of injuries usually affect the soft tissue in the back, causing pain that affects the nerves, tendons, or muscles.

RSI mostly affects the upper body and is particularly common in the wrists, hands, elbows, forearms, neck, and shoulders. However, RSI can impact the back if you often perform twisting or rotating moments of the spine.

The most common symptoms of RSI include:

  • Stiffness and inflammation
  • Tingling or numbness (a sign that nerves are affected)
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Muscular weakness
  • Cramping

Many of the patients who visit our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent are dealing with chronic back problems related to overuse. It’s important to understand that RSI can increase the risk of conditions like degenerative disc disease, facet joint dysfunction, and herniated discs.


How To Avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries

Make your working environment ergonomic

Change the furniture and the arrangement of objects in your work environment with efficiency and comfort in mind. In most cases, the best place to start is to think of the objects that you use most often and look for ways to improve their usability. Read this guide to learn more about ergonomics or visit our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent for some useful advice.


Reduce the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks

Ask your employer if you can limit the amount of time on the tasks which are causing you pain. They may be able to get another employee to help or develop a new work practice which is less repetitive.


Take more frequent breaks

Alternate between repetitive tasks and other easier tasks. Schedule in short breaks throughout your day, when you can stretch and move about. 


3. Inactivity

If you have a job where you are confined to a chair for long periods, it can eventually contribute to back pain and increase the risk of degenerative diseases occurring. Inactivity will also weaken your back’s musculature and increase the likelihood of an injury occurring. This is particularly true for individuals who have poor posture.


How To Avoid Inactivity Injuries

Look for opportunities to move about during the work day

Incorporate more movement into your day whenever possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk over to see colleagues instead of calling them, perform stretches, stand at your desk during the day and so on.  



Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. Start with low impact exercise if you already have a problem with your back. Activities like yoga and pilates can also be quite useful. Visit our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent to discover which activities may be appropriate.  


If you have any questions, or you are suffering back pain or discomfort, contact City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke on 01782 848 184. Our chiropractors are here to help you.

Stoke City Chiropractic ClinicTake your first step towards better health and call us on 01782 848 184 today

From the team at City Chiropractic Clinic
Our Chiropractors in Stoke on Trent are here to help you

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