Back pain is any ache or disorder that greatly affects the backbone and muscles within the region starting from neck all the way to the hips. It is easy to damage the back through lifting heavy loads or through the dislocation of the discs between the vertebrae.
The human body is a flexible structure which naturally has resistive forces in response to external forces. When these external forces exceed certain limits, our body parts get injured. Back pain is one of the symptoms which shows that your body is undergoing highly unfavorable conditions. In this post, the discussion is confined to ‘’How shock and vibrations result in back-pain problems’’.
Who is most likely to suffer?
Nowadays, we all utilize some sort of vibrating machine – consider the lawn mower to the washing machine at home. Let’s take the example of a driver to make this idea clear. On average, a driver spends 8-10 hours of his day traveling on the roads and as such, the body is continuously exposing to the high magnitudes of vibrations due to the following reasons:
- Poor design of the controls or the wrong seat adjustment by the driver which makes it difficult to operate the machine.
- Sitting in the same position while driving for a long period of time without altering posture
- The poor condition of the roads.
Those who drive off-road vehicles are most likely to suffer from vibrations.
Lifting heavy loads in an inappropriate way is the second main reason for back pain. Due to a lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle nowadays, the back and spine cannot tolerate heavy spinal loading. Bending awkwardly or repetitively can impact the spine increasing pressure on it. For these reasons, it is best to avoid lifting heavy objects without taking care to lift in the correct way. This will at least decrease the chance of back pain problems.
Lifting heavy loads in an inappropriate way is the second main reason for back pain. Due to lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle nowadays, spines of people are less able to tolerate heavy spinal loading. High exposure and repetitive loads can cause bending that may result in the failure of the spine. For the mentioned reasons, you should avoid lifting heavy objects in a wrong posture to decrease the chances of back pain problems.
How incorrect posture can lead to back pain
Lever arm principal is a mechanical term and means the orientations of body parts during working. It states that the force acting on the spine is increased 5 to 10 times the initial impact force. It means that if you are going to lift an object of 10N, the force acting on your spine will be 50-100N which is alarming if you lift a weight of more than 40-50N.
So if driving an off-road vehicle, mining and quarrying machines, or, if using public transport, or lifting heavy loads on a construction site, this individual will be exposed to vibrations. If this is considerable, this can lead to back pain problems in a short period of time.
What are the symptoms of back pain?
Initial symptoms of back pain include pain and tenderness. It can be difficult to bend or straighten the back properly. Due to working in severe conditions, sufferers are unable to sit on a chair or move properly as pain continues to grow. If the necessary precautions and medical care are not taken, problems can include muscular problems such as weakness, tingling and swelling to the muscles of the torso become enormous that one may start facing breathing problems. Consider pain experienced when taking in a deep breath.
Other symptoms include the inflammation or swelling on the back along with the persistent back pain and loss of control over bowel movements. One may feel numbness around the genitals and buttocks or pain down the legs which are severe in the knees. So if you are a heavy duty work and you start to feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible to avoid serious injury or failure.
How can manufacturers of a machine help?
Starting from the purchase of a machine until its operation, you should be in contact with the experienced manufacturer. You should mention the conditions under which you are going to operate that machine by understanding the fact that operating a well-manufactured machine in rough or unfavorable conditions can create problems. An experienced manufacturer can help you in the timely maintenance of the machine which helps in reducing the risk of high vibrations and thus, helps eliminate back-pain risks.
The responsibility of a manufacturer to control vibrations
Manufacturers of heavy-duty vehicles including agricultural tractors have a responsibility to design the machinery so that vibrations are limited. They should damp-out within the machine itself. Otherwise, this negligible magnitude of vibration transmits to the operator. Manuals should dictate safety conditions and how to use the machine.
Steps to prevent back injuries
Maintaining a good physical shape helps in controlling the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. One can prevent back injuries by carefully operating any machine and using proper lifting techniques.
Some of the suggestions to avoid back pain include:
- Proper exercise as this can keep the muscles and the backbone strong and flexible.
- Overweight people must try to lose weight simply because this places additional pressure on the spine and increases the weight of the object you are lifting.
- Maintaining good posture during lifting heavy luggage or driving your car on a bumpy road must be kept in mind.
- Avoid hurrying when lifting heavy packages.
- Be careful to position themselves close to the weight while lifting and tightening the stomach muscles.
- When lifting weight more than 25kg, use a lifter machine instead of lifting alone.
- Asking for help from fellow workers in placing the heavy equipment from one place to another.
In many industries, workers face these kinds of injury risks due to the lack of proper training and safety equipment. It is the responsibility of safety officers to help all who operate these machines or who must lift heavy objects. Risk assessments should be in place. After all, once a back injury occurs, it can easily happen again.