Preventing Back Pain in the Workplace

As a large proportion of life is spent at work, the tips below are to help you move well, stay well and assist in preventing back pain in the workplace.




  • Prior to any lift ask yourself if there is an easier way to do this. Could I use a crane, forklift, wheelbarrow or other device to do the hard work for me?
  • For those heavy lifts, asking for help doesn’t make you any less.
  • Do a quick safety check of the area and what you plan to lift.
  • Prepare your body by warming up BEFORE you lift and carry.
  • If you do have to lift, then use a sound lifting technique with your fee comfortably apart and in a stable position. List using your hips and knees, not your back.
  • Avoid twisting-turn by using your feet, not your back.

Standing Posture

  • Think tall, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin tucked in and head level.
  • Posture should be stable, balanced and relaxed.


  • Don’t stay seated for too long.
  • Regularly stand up, stretch and walk around.
  • If you work in an office ensure that your workstation and computer are correctly positioned.


  • Adjust your seat to sit comfortably. Adjust the lumbar support if available.
  • Take regular breaks on long journeys
  • Don’t sit with your wallet in your back pocket.
  • Be careful what you do after a long journey, take a few seconds to straighten up before lifting things out of the car.


  • With every step, shock is absorbed by the feet, knees, hips and spine to decrease the force of impact. Wearing the correct footwear helps reduce these forces further whilst not affecting the normal function of the foot.


  • Simple exercise such as walking or swimming is the best
  • Before and after exercise, make sure you warm up and cool down with gentle stretches.


  • If your back hurts, don’t ignore the pain! See a physiotherapist


Article by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a part of Tradies National Health Month.
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Author: Michael Dermansky

Michael has now been working in physiotherapy for over 20 years, since graduating from Melbourne University in 1998 and is even more passionate about getting the best outcomes for clients than he was then. Michael is always studying and looking for new and innovative ways to improve the service at MD Health, including and not limited to the ideas from the fitness industry and great customer service companies. In his spare moments, he loves spending time with his two children, Sebastian and Alexander and hopefully taking them skiing more and more often.

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