Your Job May Be Giving You Osteoporosis (And You Don’t Even Know It)
Approximately 124 million Americans are full-time employees, and with professions ranging from emergency room doctors and pediatric nurses to savvy CEOs and dedicated landscapers, every job will undoubtedly have different physical demands. While some professions might not include physical exertion as a part of the job requirement, they may require you to sit for an extended period of time at a desk. We’ve compiled three ways your job could be putting you at risk for poor bone health (even osteoporosis):
For all the ladies who wear high heels on the job…
Women wear heels for a variety of reasons. Sure, they add height and look stylish, but looks can be deceiving. When a woman wears heels, the entire weight of her body is placed on the toes, instead of dispersing evenly across the entire foot. Heels can also affect posture. The difference can be noticeable when a woman (often unknowingly) arches her back and pushes her bust forward when standing or walking, which actually alters the natural alignment of a woman’s bone frame.
Additionally, research has indicated that there is a direct connection between prolonged high heel use and a decrease in synovial fluid. For those who are be unfamiliar with synovial fluid, it is the liquid inside your body that assists with the lubrication of your bone’s joints, ultimately reducing friction between your bones. Without this fluid, joints would constantly rub against one another, eventually leading to bone erosion. A decrease of synovial fluid can also affect a person’s balance, increasing the risk of falling.
Many professions encourage professional dress, including high heels. For those who must wear the style on a daily basis, we suggest taking the following precautions to reduce the long-term effects on your body:
- If you are a fan of the 5-inch stiletto, make sure to alternate the height of your heels to give your feet (and bones) a rest. Or, try wearing shorter heels on a more frequent basis.
- Treat yourself to a weekly or monthly foot massage or hot Epsom salt bath.
- Add a durable insole to your favorite pair of heels to provide extra cushion and support.
Desk Posture = Bad Posture
While many Americans sit at a desk close to 40 hours each week, some individuals may not realize that sitting for a prolonged period of time can lead to bad posture and stress on your spine (e.g. slumping in our chair, or twisting into an awkward position in order to get more comfortable).
In order to avoid the effects of bad posture from prolonged sitting, focus on the relationship between your head, shoulders, spine and hips. When you are sitting at your desk, try to remain tall with your shoulders slightly pushed back and your feet flat on the ground. When a person sits with their legs crossed (or in a taller chair where their feet can’t touch the floor), it causes unnecessary stress on the body’s large, supportive muscles and can inhibit proper blood flow. Another posture to avoid is crouching your head and shoulders forward toward your computer screen. Look at it this way – for every inch that your head moves forward, the spine can feel like it has taken on an extra 10 pounds!
We know how difficult it can be to keep your body in these positions (it may even feel a bit awkward), so below are a few helpful hints to aid in keeping your posture strong:
- Strategically place desk supplies within your reach to prevent you from constantly reaching or grabbing heavier items.
- Get up and move! Researchers encourage employees to move around their office (or take a quick stroll around the building, if possible) every hour or so to help the body’s blood flow.
- Use a rolled towel or a lumbar pillow to give your back a little extra support when you can’t sneak away from your desk.
The Struggles of Manual Labor
Did you know that back pain is the second most common cause of an employee being absent from work? Not only does back pain fall closely behind the common cold when it comes to sick days, it contributes to 93 million lost workdays alone, plus another $5 billion in annual healthcare costs. Those who perform manual labor as a part of their day-to-day activities have a greater risk of experiencing back pain.
If your job requires a lot of bending or lifting, it is important to understand that strenuous activities can lead to a routine of bad posture habits and increased stress on your body. To focus on better body mechanics, avoid bending over at the waist and use your legs to assist in lifting heavy objects. Keep in mind that one should always lift heavy objects using their legs (imagine a sumo wrestler’s squat) and strong core muscles can also support your back when lifting on the job. Even though some jobs may not be classified as “manual labor,” several professions still place heavy burdens on a person’s back and other bones in their body. For example, nurses that work in nursing homes and hospitals are at the top of the list for high risk of neck and back injury. Dentists, surgeons as well as landscapers and gardeners are also listed on The American Chiropractic Association’s Top 10 List of Jobs that can cause back pain.
While it may not be possible to quit the job that is causing chronic pain, there are a few steps one can take to help prevent (and treat) the pain experienced from manual labor:
- After a long day of moving around, make sure to fully stretch your back, legs and arms.
- Know your physical limits – take breaks as needed and don’t be afraid to report any chronic pain to your supervisor (especially if it begins to take a toll on your job performance).
- Modify repetitive tasks or try to complete these projects in intervals, so you can give your body a period of rest.
While many Americans are fortunate enough to not experience chronic back pain or tight joints, many individuals will. If you have experienced pain in your back, bone fractures, or a loss of height from your profession, OsteoStrong is a non-invasive wellness solution that is scientifically proven to dramatically and painlessly increase bone density in just a few months. To learn more about recovering your bone density in less than 10 minutes once a week, visit http://osteostrong.me/.