Back pain from work? An expert reveals what needs to be done now

Strengthen your back after work and do sports, even if you have been moving around at work all day? A physiotherapist explains why it can still pay off for people who work out physically.

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Lots of exercise without strengthening your back

People who work eight hours or more in the office or home office hear or read over and over again how important it is to strengthen their back and play sports to balance it. After all, too little exercise is bad for your health. Physical workers do not have this problem. As a salesman, nurse, postman or assembly line worker, you walk many steps a day, lifting heavy objects or even people.

After work, you may prefer to fall on the couch. You definitely deserve it. From time to time you can also treat yourself to this cozy evening. But your back and your joints will thank you if you do something for your physical health anyway, because many strain unilaterally at work.

An employee on, for example, a car manufacturer’s assembly line, who has to pull his neck for hours by screwing parts to the undercarriage, is exhausted at the end of the day, but has not been able to strengthen the muscles that are needed.

“In this way, certain muscles are strengthened, but others are shortened. This means that mobility can be severely limited in the long term, ”explains physiotherapist Carsten Lemke from Hamburg, who treats a large number of professional groups on a daily basis.

“At this point, I would like to dispel a myth once and for all: Handymen often tell me that they work hard physically all day and therefore no longer need to exercise. That is not true, ‘warns Carsten Lemke.

Of course, artisans are more exhausted in the evenings than other professions, but they still need to do just as much to strengthen their broken backs. For this reason, you should choose a sport that you can still motivate yourself to practice after work.

Strengthen your back to avoid pain

The parts of your body that you constantly use as an assembly line worker, reporter, salesman or hairdresser are trained, but since other muscles are not equally active, it can lead to tension. Do you sometimes have headaches, neck or back pain? Then you should counteract it with sports, even if you have moved a lot during the day.

According to our physiotherapist, physical activity is still indispensable if you want to counteract muscular imbalances. It is also important to strengthen your back to prevent discomfort.

Ask the experts: Back pain and sports

Ask the experts: Back pain and sports

“In the end, it’s no different than with office assistants: only that they have more frequent complaints that can be traced back to overtime. On the other hand, office workers’ muscles tend to be weakened.

Nevertheless, there are muscular imbalances in both, which can lead to tension, back problems, headaches, etc. This can be compared to a sail mast to which the individual sails, ropes, etc. are attached. If these are tight on one side, they flutter in the wind on the other side. ”

Our expert warns that any one-sided burden is harmful in the long run. Almost all of us are affected by this. So who has varied a job where they can use all their muscles equally? Therefore, you should take the time to regularly strengthen the most important muscle groups.

It is especially important for relatives to strengthen their backs

In particular, nursing staff should be aware of low back pain, which is typical of the job. “Here the staff has to lift heavy things all day long and often can not do it from the back-friendly knee bends, but sometimes you have to twist to lift people in need of care, for example. the bed or wheelchair. , «Explains Carsten Lemke.

If there are too few carers due to a general lack of staff or illness, everyday life becomes particularly strenuous due to overtime. “It takes revenge because the muscles and fascia, the bone structures and the intervertebral discs are overloaded. On the other hand, other muscle groups such as the abdominal muscles are weakened and wrong or soothing positions occur.”

back pain
© Stevica mrija / EyeEm / gettyimages

Depending on the job, you will need to strengthen different parts of the back

If you work as a shop assistant or hairdresser, you may have sore feet in the evening. No wonder, because you often have to stand. Our physiotherapist also strains the knees and lower back too much in these jobs.

“Because it’s the same game here too: Some muscles are weakened, others are too strong or too tight, ie tense. Abdominal, buttock and upper back muscles are usually underdeveloped, while the hip and buttocks are too strong.”

The one-sided burden is only interrupted by other, short-term activities, such as unpacking and putting the goods on sale. For anyone sitting at the checkout all day, this is a welcome change.

If you work in retail or shipping, you may find yourself working a lot and heavily with your arms out front. This will mainly work on the chest and shoulder muscles. The back muscles, on the other hand, are weakened. A good balance is therefore classic muscle training with weights.

But what about the postmen? They move all day long and at first glance the movement does not seem to be one-sided either. However, the physiotherapist knows that the tissue is often too tight due to the physical strain. Therefore, our expert has a tip: Training on foam rollers. Through these exercises, the stressed structures would be loosened up again and able to relax.

With these exercises and sports you strengthen your back

If your back is stressed by your work, you should stretch the overworked muscles in your upper and lower back several times a week. At the same time, it is important that you train the straight and oblique abdominal muscles. It’s the opponent of your back. Useful exercises include crunch variations, the plank or rotations of the torso.

Functional training, yoga or body weight training are particularly good for strengthening the back, as all muscle groups here are strengthened. The most important thing, however, is that the exercises are performed regularly, because it is the only way you can train your muscles significantly to reduce the symptoms or prevent them from occurring in the first place.

According to our physiotherapist, these three exercises are best suited for training as many muscles as possible at the same time: “Downward Dog” and “Cat-Cow” on all fours from yoga and “Superman”.

Pilates with Juliana: gentle back training

Pilates with Juliana: gentle back training

“I do not want to give a general idea of ​​what you should do, but I can only recommend to everyone: Try some sport and choose what you enjoy most. Whether it is yoga or exercises at home with YouTube, bouldering, CrossFit or weightlifting in the gym or maybe dancing – you need to find out.

My advice: With a training partner, it is often easier to stick to it in the long run. You should also set realistic and measurable goals – they motivate you enormously, ”says the physiotherapist. So it is better to do a few exercises in front of the television than to do nothing at all to strengthen the back.

To reduce the one-sided load, our expert has another piece of advice: Just use the weak hand instead of the strong one for everyday tasks. For example, right-handers could operate the mouse with their left hand, and left-handers could fill the refrigerator with their right hand.

Sure, routine work feels unfamiliar at first, it is uncomfortable and takes more time, but on the one hand it provides physical variation, on the other hand it is also good brain training and gets our gray cells going.

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