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Blue Collar Crowds and Back Pain: Risk Factors and Resolutions

Back pain is prevalent in both white-collar and blue-collar work forces.

The blue-collar crowd, however, is at a higher risk due to the nature of their jobs. It has been shown that increased biomechanical loads and improper lifting posture is related to back pain and missed days of work related to back pain. Other risk factors include improper sitting and standing postures, work involving heavy lifting, and the length of time spent in a particular job.

The good news is that there are ways to prevent and/or resolve back pain in the blue-collar crowd both on your own and with the help of Back in Motion Physical Therapy.

Here are some of the most common ways to prevent injury at work:

  • Keeping a neutral spine: avoid excessive bending in the low back when lifting from any height. Lifting in a bent position puts excessive force on the discs in your spine and can lead to injury.
  • Proper positioning: this is key at any type of work station. Making sure you are in a comfortable, resting position, whether that is in standing or sitting at a desk, can decrease stress on the back from poor posture.
  • When in doubt, ask for help: sometimes we get caught up in our work and tend to just rush through and do things that may not seem or feel harmful now but will cause problems (such as back pain) in the future. If you think something might be a little too heavy to lift or you think you really should slow down and do a manual labor task properly, you are probably right and should go with your gut.


Back pain is a very common injury among white and blue-collar workers and can certainly be prevented. Don’t take for granted that pain comes with your job! By taking a few extra seconds to properly lift, properly position you and your work station, and slowing yourself down to complete a physically taxing task properly, these common injuries can be avoided and you won’t have to miss work! Work smarter not harder!

Phil Finemore

By Phil Finemore, DPT

Back in Motion Physical Therapy – South Portland, Maine

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