Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 23, 2019
Many Minnesotans work in agricultural, industrial or construction industries, and many of them work with heavy machinery on a daily basis. Whether you’re running the plow, driving across the state or using a jackhammer, many Minnesota workers engage in tasks that expose them to regular vibration or repetitive forceful movements. In many instances, the location where the majority of this vibration-related stress is channeled is through your spine.
Dr. Sinicropi has worked with countless farmers, construction workers and long-distance drivers who have developed back problems due to vibration-related job stress, and he can help you if you’re dealing with a similar issue. Below, we take a closer look at some ways you can work to prevent vibration-related back problems, and how to best treat these injuries.
Vibration Injuries and Your Spine
The discs in your spine act as shock absorbers as stress is channeled throughout your spine. They help to handle and displace stress with every step you take, but just like shocks on a car, they can break down over time. Similar to how a Jeep’s suspension system may wear down faster if it’s doing a lot of off-road driving, your spinal discs may erode quicker if they are subjected to forceful repetitive vibration.
A recent study in the agriculture industry shined a light on just how problematic regular vibration can be on a spine. They analyzed 112 pieces of farm equipment and heavy machinery to measure the amount of vibration stress that is channeled through the seat. More than half of the equipment (56 percent) reported levels of vibration stress above what the European Union deems a safe level. Tractors and heavy utility vehicles scored the worst on the tests.
Researchers concluded that exposure to whole-body vibration is a key factor in identifying back pain risk in manual laborers, but they also put forth some tips for helping to prevent such issues. According to the team, individuals that may be exposed to whole-body vibration stress on a regular basis on their jobs should:
- Regularly check suspension systems to ensure they are working properly and adjusted for the driver’s weight.
- Replace suspension systems and seats that regularly bottom out despite maintenance.
- Be cognizant of their posture while driving and avoid slouching or leaning forward while handling the equipment.
- Invest in a padded seat topper to provide additional vibration reduction.
- Avoid spending extended time using machinery that causes vibration-related stress when possible.
- See your doctor about any pain you’re experiencing or for tips on how to prevent back pain based on your specific job duties.
Repetitive vibration stress sends thousands of workers to the doctor’s office every year, so be cognizant of how these stress is affecting your body and take steps to mitigate the toll it takes on your body. For more information, or to talk to a back specialist about your spine, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.