People who have never experienced low back pain might not realize how debilitating it can be. If one of those people is your boss, you may have a lot of explaining to do. Here are a few facts that might help any boss understand what it's like to live with severe low back pain.
There are many types of low back pain, some more debilitating than others. A pulled muscle, for instance, can cause a considerable amount of pain but does heal within a few weeks and the person will essentially be back to normal afterwards. A disc problem, however, can cause recurring episodes of back or neck pain, and the pain can be so debilitating that the person can hardly walk or sit. These episodes of pain can last from a few days to a few weeks and are usually easy to spot, as the person will have unusual posture and there will be moments of grunting, yelping or a sudden intake of breath when the person tries to move.
The best remedy, as a boss, is to allow your suffering employee some leeway until the back pain episode resolves. An employee in this state of pain might be more productive working at home, where he or she can take comfortable rest periods between spurts of work. Or, if the job is a more physical one, maybe the employee could be allowed rest periods at work, a chair to sit in occasionally, or less strenuous tasks until the back pain resolves. Any accomodation that can help the employee deal with the pain and still perform their job duties will be helpful.
There is no magic cure for back pain. Studies on the effectiveness of chiropractic care prove that it is superb for treatment of back pain, but even then the body may take days or weeks to fully heal. Even when the pain is gone, the injured area needs to be treated with caution, as a reoccurence is likely until the area is fully healed. So, employers, please be patient as your back pain sufferer continues to move slowly. Muscle tissue takes 6-8 weeks to fully heal, and ligaments and tendons can take even longer.
Also keep in mind that your employees with back pain may have good days and bad days. Something as simple as a change in weather can affect people with back pain. Today may be painful, and tomorrow is fine. A little empathy, along with some patience and encouragement, go a long way to help someone who is experiencing this type of back pain get through the day.
If we can help you through an episode of back pain, neck pain or headaches, please call us or schedule online here.