Prevalence of Back Pain among Farmers – Risk Factors and Measures to Reduce the Incidence

Chronic back pain is prevalent among farmers due to the physical demands of the profession. Farmers are supposed to do heavy weight lifting frequently and they have to push or pull heavy objects to complete their tasks. Back injuries either short term or chronic are common among farmers. After the occurrence of one injury, your vertebral column requires special care to prevent further damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments and intervertebral discs.

Risk Factors for Developing Back Pain among Farmers

Here we’ll describe some risk factors which make the farmers more prone to suffer from lower back pain:

Lifting Heavy Objects

Lifting objects frequently which are heavier than 12 to 15 pounds or repeatedly lifting even lighter things are a big risk factor for the development of back pain among farmers.

Awkward Body Posture

While working, body posture must be maintained in a proper way. Awkward posture causes muscle strain and pain.

Prolonged Driving

The prolonged-time period of continuous driving of heavy vehicles, i.e. trucks, tractors, and other farm equipment causes whole-body vibration and disruption in the natural forces of the spinal column resulting in chronic back pain.

Traumatic Injuries

Falls, slips and other types of traumatic injuries are linked with adverse work conditions of farming which are not good for the health of the back.

Both males and females are equally susceptible to develop work-related to back pain. The first episode of back pain happens usually between the age of 20 and 40.

Types of Back Injuries Occurring in Farmers

Following types of back injuries can happen among farmers:

Muscle Injuries

Muscle injuries can happen due to the overexertion of the muscle tissues. Muscles are over contracted and resultantly muscle spasm takes place due to overuse and over stressing of musculature. Proper rest must be taken to correct this condition. Ice therapy is a very effective modality of treatment for muscle injuries. You can also perform light stretching practice.

Tendon Injuries

Due to repetitive flexion and extension of certain group of muscles, inflammation of the tendons happens causing pain and swelling in the affected region. To correct this condition, you must take adequate rest and apply ice therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also very effective for this condition.

Injuries of Vertebral Column

Due to frequent heavy weight lifting or poor posture, injuries to the vertebral column can also happen often involving the intervertebral disc. Intervertebral discs provide a cushion effect between two adjacent vertebrae. Due to damage to these vertebrae, this cushioning effect is lost. Disc herniation may happen in this situation, a condition in which the inner jelly-like material of the disc comes out of the outer ring-like structure. This herniated disc may also exert the pressure to the nerve root causing pain, numbness and tingling sensations in the area of distribution of that nerve. This condition also causes difficulty in standing, sitting or even pain during minor movements. Vertebral column injuries are the most serious type of back injuries.

Measures to Reduce Risk of Back Injuries in Farmers

Following measures must be adopted to lessen the risk of back injuries among farmers:

  • Do not adopt awkward postures while working or standing for prolonged periods of time.
  • When you want to change the direction, always turn with your feet and not at the waist to prevent a twisting motion.
  • The farmers must wear boots with good quality insoles to provide proper support to the ankles and lessen back pain. This will help in the maintenance of balance at your spinal column.
  • Adopt proper lifting techniques every time lifting the objects. Use your lower limbs to lift and do not use your back.
  • While picking up items, keep them close to your torso.
  • Avoid repetitive tasks and chores which involve poor posture.
  • You must use tools having long handles to enhance leverage and lessen the need to reach or bend.
  • If you want to move the objects, “push” the objects instead of “pulling” the objects.
  • While sitting in the seat of the tractor, adjust your seat in such a manner that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • You may think of adjusting mirrors or cameras equipment to lessen the need of turn.
  • Wheelbarrows and carts are effective for feeding of animals or moving objects.
  • Change your equipment seat cushions with the new ones that contain adjustable lower back support, adjustable thigh support, and armrest.
  • Consider modifying work methods to lessen the number of times required to get equipment.

Healthy Habits for Back Health

  • Tense muscles are more prone to injury and cause more problem. You must perform stretching activity regularly.
  • You must take a healthy diet containing all the micro and macronutrients. A healthy diet makes bones and muscles more strong and prevents them from injuries
  • You must take proper care of injured musculature. Do not ignore it. If you have got a muscle injury, treat it with anti-inflammatory medications and cold fomentation to lessen swelling and promote healing.
  • If you have general achiness, treat it with massage, Epson salt bath or heat to reduce muscle tension.
  • You must perform regular exercise to strengthen your core muscles. It will reduce the risk of back injuries.
  • If you are suffering from a back injury and undergoing treatment for this, follow the advice of your doctor and physical therapist properly to get complete healing.
  • You must know completely about the limitations of your body and ask for help if required. Do not overstress your body.

Education and Training

  • The farmers must get proper training about safe lifting techniques:
  • The farmers must take care of fitness conditioning. Studies suggest that back strength is associated with comparatively low risk of suffering from acute lower backache.
  • There are certain Back Schools where spinal mechanics and exercises are taught to individuals in relation to back pain. The farmers must contact such places to get complete information.

Author: Spinal Backrack