The Lowdown on Low Back Pain
(and Other Aches)


I recently changed jobs and began to have back pain. I am not working any harder, but the new job is very stressful. Could this be causing my back pain?

Emotional stress at work can cause spine problems.

Researchers tested twenty-five healthy volunteers. All performed lifting chores in a simulated workplace. Some of the volunteers were praised while others were criticized and punished randomly. The volunteers stressed by inappropriate criticism, reported back or neck pain. A few also developed high blood pressure. Some of the stressed volunteers developed other medical problems.

The researchers believed that in stressful environments, workers might forget to lift properly or might just try to work too quickly. They indicated that in stress the muscles might tighten or strain more and could be more susceptible to injury. In other words, psychological stress and workplace hostility resulted in physical injuries.

If you do lifting at work, and if you have neck or back pain, you probably should tell your employer. You can loose benefits if you fail to report an injury promptly. In California, a lifting injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance even when a stress claim is not.



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Last modified: 07/27/08