Is Your 9-5 the Cause of Your Back Pain?

November 22, 2019 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

Research shows that back pain is the leading cause of disability, and one of the main reasons why people miss work. Half of all working Americans experience back pain symptoms every year! This is no coincidence!. 

It is hugely important to get to the root of your back pain because it can be a symptom of a deeper problem, such as a herniated disc, osteoporosis, or sciatica. Therefore, getting rid of your back-pain-promoting habits can help doctors find out whether your pain has a serious background.

To help you out our spinel surgeon will explore which characteristics of your job are likely to be the cause of your back pain. We will also give advice about how to stop such habits and prevent back pain in the future. 

back pain doctor Raleigh

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain mostly occurs in the lower back (vertebrae L1-L5), which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The majority of acute, or short term lower back pain is mechanical, which means that the components of the back, like the spine, intervertebral discs, or nerves, do not work well together. 

Therefore, being more conscious of what activities causes your back pain and avoiding them can significantly improve the pain. However, if you have suffered from back pain for a long time, and believe that it is not work related, do not hesitate to contact our clinic.

Work-related causes of back pain: 

  • Repetitive Tasks – such as manual packing of goods, baking, or cooking.
  • Force, or Vibration commonly experienced during heavy manual labour, handling tasks, and operating tools.
  • Posture poor posture like slouching, twisting, bending over, or crouching.
  • Duration – prolonged periods of time spent in one position, for example sitting at a desk, or driving for long distances.
  • Cold Temperature this commonly affects people working outdoors, or in cold environments like warehouses.

Back Pain Prevention

If you suffer from back pain and any of the above sound familiar to your work environment, then you have nothing to worry about. Our spine surgeon will share with you easy-to-follow habits to prevent back pain


This is a big issue. Many jobs nowadays require employees to sit at their desk, or stand up at the counter for prolonged periods of time. And these are surely exhausting!

Do you know what is the best posture for you to adopt? Probably not. You are not alone, many people do not know and thus suffer from back pain. Good posture at work can save you from chronic pain and musculoskeletal injuries. To ensure good sitting posture, ensure you adopt the following:

  • Sit with your back straight, shoulders back, and your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
  • All 3 normal back curves should be present.
  • Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
  • Bend your knees at a right angle with your feel flat on the floor.
  • Rest your arms and elbows on the chair or desk to keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Avoid twisting at the waist – turn your whole body.
  • When standing up, avoid bending forward at your waist – stand up by straightening your legs.
  • Change your sitting position minimum every 30 minutes and stretch your back by doing 10 standing back bends.

Repetitive Tasks and Duration

In order to avoid back pain from conducting repetitive tasks, or spending prolonged periods of time in one position we suggest you break up the routine. You do not have to take a break from the work itself (because we know it may be hard), just change some things up. 

For example, if you have to be at your desk, try standing up for a few minutes to give your back a little stretch. This also refers to repetitive tasks, if you can’t change the task itself, change how you carry it out. For example, if you always pick something up with your left hand first, try to swap hands.

This will give not only give your back a stretch and a break, but also improve physical balance.

Force and Vibration

Some jobs require handling of heavy objects, or operating serious machinery. Doing such can have a huge impact on your whole body, not just your spine. We suggest that you learn the correct technique of handling machinery, or heavy objects. Follow it, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

For example, when picking up heavy boxes from the floor, make sure the upward movement comes from your legs, not your back. All throughout the movement keep your back straight, but bend your arms and legs.

Of course, when possible, take breaks, or alternate between different activities.

Cold temperature

This one is relatively easy to counteract! If you know that you will be in a cold environment, wear extra layers of clothing. In this case, good quality thermal second-skin clothing is an investment in your health! 

About our Spine Doctor!

At the Raleigh Orthopaedic Center, we have assembled a team  of 21 board certified and board eligible orthopaedic surgeons, 2 primary care sports medicine physicians, a podiatrist, and  24 advanced practice providers to care for your unique orthopaedic conditions. They are not only experienced, but also hugely motivated and engaged in continuously expanding their education and taking training in orthopedics. 

Every patient receives personal attention and care. Our spine doctor is dedicated to making a positive difference to your current quality of life. 

We are providing the highest quality of orthopaedic care in 5 convenient clinic locations: Raleigh, Cary, Garner, North Raleigh and Holly Springs.

If you have any further questions, or wish to schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to contact us, or check out our FAQs page! We are always happy to provide assistance and convenience for you, so you can choose how to get in touch with us:

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.