Back pain can make your day as a cashier more than unpleasant. You spend most of the day on your feet, figuratively glued to the same spot. At best you get to perch on a high stool with little support. Find out ways to prevent back pain, and treat it if you have it!
1. Sit straight as often as possible.
When you're on your feet all day, make sure you sit as often as you can - both when working and when you're having your lunch breaks - but it's important to sit correctly.
Sitting can take some pressure off your back and legs, but do sit up straight to avoid back injury. Keep your feet on the floor and your shoulders back. Make sure that your spine naturally curves in three places (neck, outward back, inward lumbar). Sitting and standing correctly improves your spine and back strength and will help prevent work injuries.
2. Avoid fatigue-causing movement.
Cashiers stand or sit for long periods of time, lifting and moving objects over a scanner. Stretching and twisting when done over and over can cause undue fatigue on your back.
When scanning items, make sure you wait for them to come to you on the conveyor. Furthermore, make sure that you know how to lift each specific item and what grip you need to lift it: power grip (wrapping fingers and thumb around the object to reduce strain), power lift (lifting with two hands when the item is too heavy for a power grip), or pinch grasp (only used for lifting small, lighter objects). Be mindful of your body's position throughout the day.
3. Strengthen your core.
As a cashier, you will benefit from having a strong core to support your daily work activities. Try to do exercises to strengthen your back such as bottom to heel stretches, knee rolls, back extensions, deep abdominal strengthening, and pelvic tilts. (The NHS website explains how to do these here.) Walking also strengthens your core as do swimming, yoga, and Pilates. There are core strengthening workouts for any level of fitness.
4. Lift heavy objects properly.
Cashiers sometimes have to lift heavy boxes and items when helping stock shelves, or moving customer purchases. Improperly lifting heavy objects can strain or pull back muscles. Follow correct lifting procedure when lifting heavy objects: bend from your knees, keep the load close to your body, take a stable stance, don't bend your back when lifting, don't bend or twist with the load, look ahead, and know your limits (if it's too heavy get someone else to help you).
5. Stretch your hamstrings.
Tight hamstrings cause lower back strain. Cashiers who stand most of the day often experience tightening of the hamstrings, and stretching your hamstrings can help relieve lower back pressure. You can stretch your hamstrings either standing or sitting.
When standing, place one leg in front of the other and bend at the waist with your arms hanging; try and touch your toes, but don't strain to do so. When you feel the stretch in your hamstring, stop.
From a sitting position, move to the front of your chair, place one leg on the floor and the other outstretched. Try again to touch your toes, and then repeat on the opposite leg.
6. Wear the correct footwear.
Anyone who works on their feet like cashiers must have comfortable, supportive footwear to prevent back strain. Find shoes with the appropriate level of cushioning and support. You will want something with cushioned soles, and something that doesn't rub or slip off your foot when you are moving.
You may also want to have shoes that are slip-resistant and light. If your shoes rub, it may cause you to stand incorrectly, causing strain; if your shoes are too heavy, you may cause undue fatigue on your back and hamstrings; and if your shoes are not comfortable enough, your feet may ache after a long day - plus, too much pressure on your heel can cause back pain too!
Shoes For Crews has many technologies including Flex Tread, Triguard, and Hoverlite that can help cashiers stay safe and comfortable at work.
First, Flex Tread promotes natural forward foot movement through deep flex grooves, keeping your feet in place. Next, Tripguard has a specialised curved lug to prevent slips and trips when you move from one type of surface to another. Lastly, Hoverlite is a lightweight foam compound that makes each step lighter, and takes pressure off your legs, knees, joints, and back.
Help your back pain now! Take a look at the options available in our catalogue: