A new shift is about to start and you’re ready to go to work when suddenly a twinge of burning pain lights up your back, rendering you immobile for a period of time, maybe a moment or even hours.
You may question exactly how will you get through the upcoming shift and complete all the tasks you set out and are required to do.
Perhaps your chosen career is healthcare, and there are patients depending on you for assistance with the most basic of tasks, which requires a certain level of physical health.
You might have an office job that requires you to sit at a desk using a computer for the entire shift, leaving little time for stretches or breaks. Painkillers, whether prescription or over-the-counter, are an option but they leave you slightly unfocused or groggy. Suddenly your day doesn’t seem that promising anymore.
Regardless of your career choice, when you suffer from back pain, it can be aggravating and difficult to mentally, let alone physically, deal with.
Trying to complete the tasks expected of you when it comes to your work, while in physical pain, can be extremely taxing on your mental well-being while affecting those around you.
The majority of today’s workforce has experienced back pain in some form at least once throughout their life.
Maybe you had a minor injury or slept throughout the night in an awkward position. Other people have chronic back pain stemming from previous trauma to the site or it could even be a symptom of other ailments.
Types of Back Pain
Back pain can range in levels from mild to severe and be spread over the entire back or concentrated to a specific area. The most common type of back pain people suffer with is lower back pain with upper back pain the close second.
You might suffer from acute back pain which lasts approximately three to six months and is generally caused by a minor injury or muscle strain.
Perhaps you suffer from chronic back pain, which is the most severe and can last a lifetime. Major injuries, especially nerve or tissue damage, can also lead to chronic back pain when not managed properly or your pain could be caused by an ailment such as arthritis or sciatica.
Symptoms of back pain could be white-hot burning sensations, muscle spasms, dull throbbing pain or even a stabbing pain in the affected area. Regardless of the type of back pain, it is uncomfortable and can take a toll on a person along with those around them.
Psychological Back Pain
Although not as commonly diagnosed as acute or chronic back pain, the majority of the population suffers through pain deemed psychological by a combination of medical doctors and psychologists.
It’s commonly accepted that emotional issues or stress or even psychological factors can make any problem you are facing worse; but, the idea of psychological back problems takes this idea even one step more.
The diagnosis of stress-related back pain assumes that psychological factors are the main problem for back pain. While the issues causing the back pain are not physically visible or show up on a medical scan (MRI, CAT scan, etc.), it doesn’t mean that the symptoms aren’t there.
Perhaps your mental functions lead you unable to maintain long periods of mobility or even leave your home, which in turn can cause all of your muscles to weaken and seize.
By spending large periods of time in a stationary position with minimal changes, your back loses its strength, causing pain from the neck area to the lower back.
Treatment for this type of back pain can be the same as acute or chronic pain treatment, with counseling from a trained professional added to determine the causes of the stress and psychological problems.
When you are trying to work and be a productive member of your employer, it can be hard to ignore the pain burning throughout your back to focus on the tasks at hand.
Whether you have a desk job or one that requires high physical standards, back pain eventually decreases your level of productivity. Having to leave your job for preventative/pain management appointments or having to take frequent breaks to stretch out your back creates a disruption in your work.
Tasks that needed only 45 minutes to complete just turned into an hour-long endeavor. By feeling constant discomfort, your focus will be split between your work and your health.
All these issues can have an effect on not only your work ethics but also your confidence level as a worker and person.
Depending on the severity of your back pain, the decision might have to be made to not even try to work a scheduled shift and prompt you to call in sick or unavailable.
Doing so creates an array of problems for your employer and fellow co-workers. They have to complete the tasks you are unable to, adding to a person’s workload, which can mentally take a toll on a person by adding unneeded stress.
Depending on your employer’s sick leave policy, this might lead to a loss of wages for that shift adding to the stress you are feeling due to your back pain.
Employers can look at these things as a liability for having to pay your sick wage, pay overtime to your co-workers if necessary, and increase the requirements expected in each position.
These thoughts running through a person’s mind can create fatigue of sorts, which can manifest itself in the work completed.
Preventing and Managing Back Pain
The style and type of mattress you sleep on can play a huge part in the prevention and management of back pain. Using a mattress designed for back pain and having the accompanying mattress topper, like the ones offered through Sleep Addicts, is a step in the right direction. Sleep Addicts provides a wide range of mattress toppers to alleviate back pain, designed to correspond with the various types of issues and discomfort a person can experience.
They have mattress toppers that can be for the person who suffers occasional flare-ups of pain and they have mattress toppers that can assist the chronic pain sufferer. Sleep Addicts also offer a line of mattress toppers that include a memory foam, which shapes to a person’s body and provide customized relief.
There are several other options when it comes to preventing and managing back pain. From prescription drugs to herbal remedies, stretches to occupational therapy, and mattresses to specific desk chairs, the options are limitless.
The simplest acts such as stretching and maintaining a good posture can lessen or even eliminate the level of back pain felt on a daily basis.
Prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications will not be everyone’s first choice due to the numerous side effects they can create and herbal remedies could take an extended period of time to work.
The majority of people find a combination of stretches and exercise, whether through a trained professional or home-based option, provide a tremendous amount of relief.
Occupational or physical therapy along with deep tissue massages can be an effective tool for managing back pain. Perhaps you feel relief using a routine of alternating cold packs then heating pads.
Speaking with your doctor about your back pain and what course of treatment is the best for you is a definite necessity. Your doctor may suggest a combination of different therapies to best suit your needs.
Life without back pain
Can you imagine a life when you are able to move about, complete your work and be the most productive you that you have ever known? We aren’t medical professionals but a life free of back pain might be a possibility for you.
First things first, consult your primary healthcare provider to get an expert opinion on the root of your back pain. Then take the appropriate steps to fix the problem.
Every person has a need to be the best possible version of themselves at home, at work, and at life. When something such as back pain threatens this, it can be easy to feel your self-confidence diminishes the longer it continues.
Using the aids mentioned above to control back pain can help a person regain their confidence and self-worth. You may find that one particular aid is the answer you need or it may take a trial-and-error process to eliminate the ones that don’t manage your symptoms to your liking.
Whatever avenue you choose to pursue, always speak to your doctor or a recognized health professional for any questions you may have! They can help customize a pain prevention or management plan suited to your symptoms and needs.
Talk to your employer or manager about your back pain and see if there are any steps you can take to avoid flare-ups at work.
Try to stay mobile to avoid further weakening of the muscles and exercise in a safe way to prevent future occurrences. A healthy you at work is the best for you!