From the American Chiropractic Association’s patient education library, Healthy Living, comes a list of the occupations found to cause the most stress and strains on the muscles of the back:
Auto mechanics work in physically awkward positions all day long—bending over cars, sliding under cars, etc.
Nursing home workers have to lift elderly people into and out of bed. They cannot always safeguard their own backs.
Delivery drivers are always running—often while carrying heavy and awkward packages. Packages shipped via UPS, FedEx, etc., have increased in weight over the years. The job also involves a lot of driving, which is hard on backs.
Firefighters/EMTs deal with fire, water pressure from hoses, and they have to chop obstacles out of their way with axes. Carrying obese or incapacitated people to safety can be hard on firefighters’ and EMTs backs.
Shingle roofers are always twisting their bodies and hurting their backs.
Farmers lift heavy equipment and bags of feed and grain. In the field, they constantly twist their spines to watch how equipment being pulled behind a tractor is functioning.
Police officers sit in their cars for long periods of time, which is hard on the lower back. When called into action, they have to make sudden movements and they often face resistance from those they are arresting. Police officers also wear belts that can weigh up to 40 lbs., which can cause chronic back pain.
Landscapers lift heavier objects than any other profession. Wheelbarrows can easily become unbalanced. They may twist or turn over, wrenching workers’ backs.
Construction workers’ jobs can involve hammering, lifting, steelwork, or ironwork—all while the worker is in very awkward positions. Moving steel beams and other heavy items can wreak havoc on the entire body.
Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers endure constant spinal compression and vibration from driving for long hours. This can damage the back. Prolonged sitting puts pressure on the spine, which can result in disc degeneration. Liquid-carrying trucks are particularly hard on these drivers. When this type of truck comes to a sudden stop, the fluid in the truck’s tank slams back and forth, and the driver’s back feels the impact. Also, because professional truck drivers are always on the road, their diets are seldom what they should be, which can contribute to back problems.