Back pain can be caused by many factors and can affect anyone, young or old. Farmers are especially at risk because work done on the farm can include activities that are factors for developing back pain. Some risk factors for developing back pain include:
- Lifting objects heavier than 25 pounds or repeatedly lifting lighter objects,
- Awkward body posture while working
- Driving farm equipment for long periods of time that cause your whole body to vibrate,
- Slips and fall
What can be done to help reduce the risk of having back pain? There are some easy steps to remember to help reduce the likelihood of spending the next few days in pain.
Start by recognizing high-risk activities. Are you spending an extraordinary amount of time in equipment? Are you lifting awkward or heavy loads? Is there a tripping hazard that could lead to a fall? Once you realize that there could be a potential for creating back pain, take some steps to help yourself.
- Avoid prolonged, repetitive tasks (ask somebody to help out and take turns)
- Practice good lifting hygiene (use your legs)
- Alternate between heavy and light work tasks
- Take frequent rest breaks
- Before starting a task, consider how it could be done differently.
- Address tripping hazards
If you’re back pain doesn’t resolve itself or is unbearable, seek the advice of a doctor or other medical professional. Don’t ignore the pain and hope it goes away. Medical treatment and rehabilitation may enable you to continue working and functioning. By addressing the issue, you could prevent further pain.
For more information about farm safety, visit the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association website at www.casa-acsa.ca.