Preventing & Treating Farming-Related Back Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 14, 2016

Minnesota Farming Back Pain

Many of our patients come to our clinic because of a back problem that came about on the job or as a result of years of manual labor. We’ve talked about how individuals in the construction and the trucking industry have higher rates of spine pain than other industries, but those workers are usually protected by workers’ compensation insurance or with paid time off. Today, we want to focus on spine pain in another industry where workers can’t always call in sick for file for workers’ compensation. We’re talking, of course, about the agricultural and farming industry.

Preventing Back Pain While Farming in MN

A recent report out of Canada suggests that farmers have higher rates of back pain, and they are less likely to go and get assistance for their pain than the average worker. You can see how this would make for a problematic scenario.

Farm life is a very physical job. Whether you’re riding on a bumpy tractor for hours or unloading hundreds of bales of hay, you’re twisting, torquing and stressing your spine from sun up to sundown. There’s also the problem of getting into the clinic or making regular appointments at the physiotherapist’s office. Farming, by nature, typically occurs in rural areas, whereas health clinics can aid more people if they are located in urban settings. It takes time and money to get to regular appointments, and it also mean jobs are going unattended on the farm, meaning many farmers power through the pain, which can make matter worse, or they self-medicate, which can be harmful.

Tips To Prevent Spine Pain On The Farm

If you want to help keep back pain at bay on the farm, consider these tips:

  • Although it’s easier said than done, try to alternate activities between physical and less-physical tasks.
  • Put a cushion or padded seat on your tractor or combine to help disperse stress when seated.
  • Take a couple of minutes to stretch your spinal structures before you jump into the day’s work. Your muscles need to time warm up, otherwise they are prone to injury.
  • Eat healthy meals, as this can reduce the likelihood of inflammation in your spine, which can irritate bone spurs or compress spinal structures.
  • Practice proper lifting techniques. Bend at the knees to pick up those hay bales or milk jugs, not at the waist, otherwise the stress is placed on your spinal discs.
  • Instead of self-medicating or powering through the pain, set up a consultation with a doctor because it’s easier to treat a condition in its infancy than if it snowballs to a larger problem.
  • When you do visit with a doctor, ask them about other ways you can protect your spine, especially if one area is giving you more problems than others.

For more information on what you can do to protect your spine if you work in a physical industry, contact Dr. Sinicropi today.

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