The back is a curious topic in that nearly 90% of individuals will suffer some sort of back pain in their lives, especially from on-the-job back injuries. While there is no one reason for how these injuries happen, the biggest culprit is you and how you treat your spine.
Most animals with a spine walk on four legs so that the spinal column remains parallel to the ground. Humans don’t, and this simple fact has led to some very odd evolutionary developments. For one, our spine is curved in numerous places. For another, we further developed the discs that act as cushions between our individual vertebrae. Because of this, gravity ends up wreaking havoc on our backs if we mistreat them in any way.
The reason back pain is your fault is because of how you carry yourself and what you force yourself to do physically day in and day out—unless you have a legitimate issue with your spine. No one can force you to lift heavy things. No one forces you stay seated at your desk for eight hours straight. No one forces you to slouch. These are all things that cause on-the-job back injury and are entirely preventable so long as you take better care of your spine.
The first step is physical. If you’re overweight, lose weight. The spine was only designed to deal with so much downward pressure. The added force warps it. If you slouch, start working your back muscles out. Slouching is due to both habit and weak back muscles. Strengthen those, and you’ll have a much easier time sitting tall. Finally, get up and move around once per hour. Relieve the pressure sitting puts on your lumbar.
The second step is to stand strong in not being forced to move heavy things. At work, there is no need to show off, especially if you have no idea what proper lifting technique is. Using your back to move 50 pounds is a month of back pain waiting to happen. Instead, either get someone else to do it or ask the company to install a pneumatic lift assist. This installation is especially crucial if lifting is a big part of your job. It will reduce any sort of repetitive stress injury and save the company millions in medical bills.
Finally, spend time practicing proper lifting. Eventually you will have to lift something, so it’s better to be prepared and safe. Though it will take some practice to really get the form down, lifting is extremely easy in execution. All it takes is bending down at the knees while keeping proper posture. You’ll probably feel like you’re sticking your butt out. This is good. After you’ve grabbed the object, use the muscles of your thighs to push upward. Again, maintain a straight back and your body will automatically force the muscles to work, not the bones.