What can cause back pain?

The pain of a back injury can develop gradually as the result of cumulative ‘microtraumas’ in repetitive work, or be the result of a single traumatic event.

There are many causes of back pain. You are usually aware when you are straining your back, or otherwise abusing it. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that back pain is more common in tasks that involve:

  • lifting heavy or bulky loads;
  • carrying loads awkwardly, possibly one-handed;
  • repetitive tasks, such as packing products;
  • long-distance driving or driving over rough ground, particularly if the seat is not, or cannot be, properly adjusted;
  • stooping, bending or crouching, including working at computers (poor posture);
  • pushing, pulling or dragging heavy loads;
  • working beyond normal abilities and limits;
  • working when physically tired;
  • stretching, twisting and reaching; and
  • prolonged periods in one position.

If you have to lift or carry heavy or awkward loads, you should receive training on how to do it without causing damage to your body.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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