Worst Jobs for Back Pain (5 horrible jobs)

In this blog post, we will list out the worst jobs for back pain. We will also understand the causes of back pain during work and how to take care of our backs. Finally, we will list out the ideal job possibilities for people with back pain.

Many people undergo back pain but would still have to make a living. It is vital for people with back pain to receive treatment, such as chiropractic care, physiotherapy, medication, acupuncture, among other options. When one’s work adds to this problem, it makes it even more challenging. It is important to find an ideal job for your back pain.

Worst Jobs for Back Pain

Professional life and personal life play an essential role in one’s mental and physical health, and it is not always positive. North American Spine Society (NASS) surveyed its supporters in 2016 to determine the most dangerous spinal health jobs. Following is a list of worst jobs for back pain and associated tips:

  • Driver
  • Factory Worker
  • Manual Laborer
  • Dentist
  • Automobile Mechanic
  • Warehouse Worker
  • Office Worker
  • Nurse
  • Construction Worker

Driver

Driving is considered the worst job for back and neck pain. This impact is real not only for long-haul truck drivers but also for taxi drivers due to extended hours and even luggage-carrying. 

Tips: 

  • Set up a conducive atmosphere before driving; 
  • Keep the seat at an obtuse (say, 100 degrees) angle to avoid slouching; 
  • Ensure elbows and knees are slightly bent by being nearer to the steering wheel; and
  • Place support like a tiny pillow at the lumbar region (small of the back) for more comfort.

Factory Worker

This job involves performing repetitive tasks for extended hours, which could tire the muscles and lead to exhaustion. There is a family of conditions affecting the muscles called repetitive motion disorders (RSD), to which factory workers are particularly prone. 

Tips:

  • It is imperative to take breaks often;
  • Check and rectify the posture now and then;
  • Try to do varied tasks if possible; and
  • Keep a straight back with relaxed shoulders.

Manual Laborer

Unsurprisingly, this job involves tasks that would cause back pain apart from overall detriments to physical health. They must do heavy-lifting, handle power tools, bend and twist, and do repetitive jobs. All of these contribute to the strain of the back and neck.

Tips:

  • Wear shoes that are supportive to heavy-lifting; and
  • If required, upon consultation with a doctor, use back braces.

Dentist

This job entails performing procedures that do not allow movement and might require the dentist to stay in one position throughout the operation. It will also involve twisting and bending, causing further strain to their neck and back. 

Tips:

  • Use chair arms for supporting the arm during procedures requiring precision; and
  • Appropriate lighting and magnification help clear and closer vision reducing strain on the neck.

Automobile Mechanic

Automobile mechanics twist, bend, arch their backs in awkward positions, putting tremendous pressure on their spine. Such actions can lead to back pain and even sprain.

Tips:

  • Whichever part is being repaired, it is best to get as close to the area as possible to avoid injury to the back. 

Warehouse Worker

This job is physically demanding as it involves massive amounts of lifting, shifting, and moving heavy packages, increasing the risk of injury.

Tips: 

  • Test the heaviness of the object before lifting;
  • Take help from a co-worker or use carts for objects that are too heavy; and
  • Wear aiding equipment like gloves for protection and a better grip.

Office Worker

Although they do not lift heavy equipment, sitting in one designated space could be just as damaging. Sitting and staring at one’s computer screen all day can be detrimental to their posture and cause severe back pain along with eye strain.

Tips:

  • Take breaks every hour to stretch or walk around;
  • Ensure you have to get up and walk to get water or coffee; and 
  • Do things to being variations to posture and position through the day (e.g., use sit-stand desks).

Nurse

Being a nurse involves high levels of stress. They are always on their feet, help transfer patients, bend to assist in procedures, and move heavy equipment, all of which can increase the risk of injury, especially to the back and nack. 

Tips:

  • Perform gentle stretches (e.g., shoulder rolls, hamstring stretch, neck bends) during breaks
  • Take time for quick meditations, especially on exhausting days.

Construction Worker

The physical, occupational hazards such as heavy lifting, bending for extended periods, and vibration of the entire body from drilling can strain the back. It can even lead to sprains.

Tips:

  • Ask for help whenever necessary;
  • Use a cart or take the help of a co-worker when lifting material more massive than 20 kilos or 50 pounds; and
  • Ensure a tight grip by using equipment and tools with secure handles

Additionally, the work environment and posture, and not the work itself, could put pressure on one’s back, leading to injury and pain. Despite being in a low-stress job, some people’s postures are inconducive to spinal health.

 

What Causes Back Pain During Work? 

Several factors could lead to back pain during work, such as:

Inactivity

Lack of activity, typically characteristic of desk jobs and office clerks, can lead to back pain. Moreover, bad posture and sitting for extended periods without appropriate back support could worsen back problems.

Pressure

Excessive pressure on the back resulting from lifting and moving hefty equipment almost daily can injure one’s back. 

Repetitive Tasks

Performing jobs that involve repeating tasks, such as twisting and rotating the back in awkward ways, can lead to back pain.

What to Do to Take Care of the Back

It may not be possible to change one’s profession or even their environment. However, certain things can be controlled to ensure good health of the back and the entire body. Following are a few suggestions for people to follow to take care of their backs:

  • Assume appropriate posture while sitting as well as standing;
  • Rest, but not excessively;
  • Diversify activities to ensure engaging all muscle groups;
  • Regularly exercise;
  • Get help from a chiropractor to understand the ideal way for one to relieve backache;
  • Perform stretches often, especially of the leg and back muscles;
  • Make sure to follow safe ways of lifting while at work;
  • Take breaks regularly to stretch or meditate;
  • Wear a comfortable pair of shoes for appropriate support of the legs, feet, and back; and
  • Ensure to be close to the object, raise knees, and not twist the body too much while lifting.

Ideal Job Options for People with Chronic Back Pain

Several jobs have reduced strain on the back owing to their low-impact nature. Some of these jobs are:

  • Content Writer
  • Software Developer
  • Administrative Support Staff
  • Self-Employed
  • Professional Photographer 

Content Writer

Most of the content-writing jobs are freelance work, which implies being able to work from home. This job involves flexibility in schedule and provides various opportunities, including creating content for blogs, newsletters, social media, and the like. Nevertheless, it is essential to be cautious by taking breaks, not sitting for prolonged periods, and stretching regularly.

Software Developer

Nowadays, software developers have moved away from sitting for long hours in front of a screen at a designated place. Many employers take steps to provide support and comfort. They provide a conducive work environment with beanbags, adjustable or sit-stand desks, and even in-house gyms.

Administrative Support Staff

Although working desk jobs could lead to chronic bain, it happens only when one does not take adequate precautions. These precautions include taking breaks, stretching, using functional furniture while working, and learning ways to work safely in offices. 

Self-Employed

This job provides an ample amount of flexibility concerning schedule and environment. This flexibility allows one to work per their convenience, take adequate breaks, and set up a workspace conducive to physical health, especially the back.

Professional Photographer

Being a professional photographer typically involves being self-employed, reaping the benefits mentioned above. The photographer can also choose the location. If they decide to work for a company, it is still a good fit as this job generally allows for active and inactive tasks during the day.  

Conclusion

In this blog post, we understood what the worst jobs for pain are. We also listed the causes of back pain during work and recommended ways to take care of our backs. Additionally, we found out the ideal jobs for individuals with back pain.

It is crucial for people with back pain to seek timely and appropriate treatment from doctors, physiotherapists, and chiropractors. Every employee must take precautions and maintain their overall health to prevent back pain and injury.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Worst Jobs for Back Pain

How to manage severe back pain?

There are certain things to do for treating back pain:

Physiotherapy: physiotherapy involves stretching, soft-tissue techniques, strengthening exercises, among others, to help provide spinal pain relief
Medication: over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers (e.g., ibuprofen) may help

What is the ideal job for people with backache?

There are a few jobs that people with back pain can opt for:

Sales representative
Customer service executive
Home tutor
Office clerk
Content writer
Accountant
Technician

What are good pain-relievers for unbearable backache?

Several pain relievers, coupled with heat compress, can help relieve back pain. Some of the medications that one’s doctor may recommend are:

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain killers
Muscle relaxants
Narcotics
Antidepressants
Topical pain relievers

Is it essential to go to the ER for back pain?

Yes. It is essential to go to the nearest emergency room immediately if the pain is severe even after taking rest. If one meets any of the following criteria, visit the ER instantly:

Numbness
History of cancer
Recent surgery
Fever
Recent injury or trauma
Intravenous drug use
Loss of control (incontinence) of bladder or bowel
Weakness
Prolonged use of steroids

Is there a fast way to relieve lower back pain?

Yes, there are specific remedies one could try to relieve lower back pain:

Stretching 
Good sleep
Hot or cold compress
Exercise to loosen muscles
Reduce stress
Purchase better shoes

Is someone with back pain allowed to claim disability benefits?

Yes, if the back pain is severe enough to disallow one from working. The Social Security Administration’s Disability Insurance (SSDI) program allows individuals to be eligible if sufficient credits have been earned from work, and enough taxes have been paid. Upon meeting specific criteria, they can claim disability benefits. 

Is it true that eggs are good for backache?

Yes, eggs are good for backache as they are a healthy source of protein. Other protein-packed foods good for back pain include salmon, bone broth, organic protein powder, nuts, beans, and legumes. Protein foods, along with exercises, can help minimize back pain and strengthen muscles.

What is the accurate way to sleep when one has lower back pain?

Sleeping on your back with your spine kept neutral can help. Additionally, place a pillow under your knees as doing so helps maintain the curve in your lower back. 

References

https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/back-pain/top-10-worst-jobs-back-pain?page=0#top

https://www.atlanticspinecenter.com/blog/v/best-careers-for-individuals-suffering-from-chronic-neck-or-back-pain/

https://morleyphysio.com.au/uncategorized/lower-back-injuries-does-my-job-put-me-at-risk/

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