Today, more people work in offices, have longer work hours, use better technology and automation and required to move less on a daily basis. This new environment produces more inactive and non-functional people and leads to dysfunction and increased incidents of injury including low back pain, knee injuries, shoulder impingements and other musculoskeletal injuries.
Low back pain is one of the major forms of musculoskeletal degeneration seen in the adult population, affecting nearly 80% of all adults. Research has shown low back pain to be predominant among workers in enclosed workspaces (such as offices), as well as in people engaged in manual labour (farming), in people who sit for long periods of time (greater than 3 hours) and in people who have altered lumbar lordosis. More than one third of all work-related injuries involve the trunk, and of these, 60% involve the low back.
Nearly 5 million working days were lost as a result of back pain in 2003-2004. This means that on any one day 1% of the working population are on sickness leave due to a back problem.
Back pain is the number 2 reason for long term sickness in much of the UK. In manual labour jobs, back pain is the number one reason.
Given these facts it is essential we do more to help prevent these musculoskeletal injuries in ourselves but also within our workplace. If you employ people surely you want them to be having zero sick days with maximum efficiency every time they are in working. If you are self-employed, surely you can’t afford to take days off due to your back playing up or even struggle along through the day being less efficient as your back is uncomfortable?
Investing a little bit of time and money in seeing a professional such as Richard Green the Personal trainer and Fitness coach, could save or even make you a whole lot more time and money.
It is important to work through an exercise continuum when addressing these issues. Firstly identify the problem, then design a program to solve this problem and then ensure that our exercise technique is perfect throughout the session.
For example, you may be an office worker suffering from low back pain. This means that you probably sit down for the majority of the day – maybe 8-10 hours of the day. In this seated position, the hip flexor complex are in a shortened position. Over time, the hip flexors may stay in a shortened position, leading to a pull on the pelvis, tilting the pelvis forwards and out of position. This creates a pull on your lower back musculature due to the attachments of the muscles, possibly creating discomfort. Further, now that the hip flexors are tight, this reduces neural drive to your Glutes (buttock muscles), which are a prime mover for hip extension. If there is a lack of activation of your Glutes, then other muscles above and below start doing the work for them. Therefore, your lower back and your hamstrings start overworking in any hip extension movement (walking, standing etc). If muscles are overworked again they will tire and you will feel discomfort.
The major problem is within the hip flexor complex. Releasing and stretching the hip flexors will help sit the pelvis into a better position so that it doesn’t create the issues mentioned above.
With a little bit of knowledge you can help treat and then prevent further problems occurring and increase your workforce by reducing sick day and increasing efficiency.