The 10 Jobs with the MOST Back Pain

Worst Back Pain Jobs

Even household work carries a high risk for back pain

Back-breaking labor doesn’t always look like hard work.

If you see someone bent over lifting or carrying a heavy load, you may assume their job causes back pain. Yet that’s not necessarily true. You don’t have to do hard manual labor to end up with serious back pain after work — even sitting still can do you in!

The jobs with the most back pain include indoor and outdoor work, hard labor and “light” office jobs. You could be working at a job right now that’s going to kill your back … but you may not be aware of what you’re doing to your spine each and every day.

Stop living in the dark. Take a second look at your job to see if it is one of the 10 jobs that cause the most back pain … or if it has all the red flags of one of the future Top 10 back-breaking occupations. And don’t miss discovering the SOLUTION at the end … the Lose the Back Pain system!

The Top 5 Back Pain Jobs: Careers Popular with Men

Back pain is reported more often by male workers than female workers, with nearly one in 10 male workers reporting back pain for at least a solid week per year. What kind of work is to blame? Heavy manual labor definitely, but also skilled professional jobs and office work. Here are the top 5 jobs with the most back pain in careers that tend to have more male workers…

Carpenters: With the most pain and the highest reported incidence in a 2002 study of back pain prevalence, carpenters suffer the most of any male-dominated profession. Their backs are assaulted by repetitive motion, reaching, bending, and twisting throughout the day. This pain is further aggravated with continual heavy lifting at work, leading to a back pain rate of nearly 20% of all workers.

Auto Mechanics: Auto mechanics are an emerging group of back pain sufferers who were previously lumped in with construction workers as a class. However, continuous work while lying on their backs under cars or standing with their arms raised overhead to work on lifted vehicles places a unique strain on the major muscles of their backs. Heavy tools, vibrating tools, and the need to twist, reach, and bend while holding heavy parts also contribute to back pain in this profession.

Farmers and Farm Workers: Farm machinery may have helped ease the back-breaking work of traditional farming, but it hasn’t eliminated it. Many farming tasks require heavy lifting, repetitive motion, bending over, and the endurance to stay in one spot working a piece of ground or manipulating irrigation equipment.

Machine operators: Machine operators do a wide variety of tasks, but their primary interactions are with heavy equipment, vibrating equipment, and equipment that requires repetitive motion to produce. Pulling levers endlessly, standing for long hours at a machine, or pushing and pulling machine arms all add up to aches and pains.

Desk jockeys: It turns out sitting behind a desk isn’t an easy path out of back pain. Instead, office workers often spend eight hours glued to chairs with no back support while they hunch over a computer at their job. The net result is muscle tightness and pain throughout their backs and hips.

Other top jobs for back pain for men include truck driving, professional trades like welding, plumbing, or doing electrical work, and general manual labor work.

The Top 5 Back Pain Jobs: Careers Popular with Women

Women may experience statistically less back pain than men on the job, but that doesn’t mean their work lives are free from back pain. Instead, a wide variety of popular occupations for women can cause back problems. Below are the top 5 jobs that cause back pain in careers that tend to have more female workers…

Nursing: Nurses, orderlies, and attendants strain their lower backs as they bend over patients, transfer patients between beds, and assist with procedures. Modern paperwork requirements add a new element of upper back strain as nurses hunch over paperwork and computer keyboards. No wonder nurses have more back injuries than any other occupation!

Maids / Housekeepers: Maids and Housekeepers frequently spend hours bent over their work, picking things up, scrubbing things down, and carrying cleaning materials from room to room. Repetitive motion, reaching, bending, and twisting all add up to serious spinal strain potential.

Restaurant workers: Cooks, waitresses, hostesses, dishwashers, and bus staff all experience back pain. Standing on your feet all day, dealing with heavy loads of dishes, and repetitive cleaning and chopping motions all put increased strain on upper and lower back muscles.

Hairdressers: Hairdressers are an emerging group being studied by back pain specialists. Salon workers often stand all day with their arms up, endlessly snipping and clipping their client’s locks of hair. Alternatively, they may remain bent over a client doing waxing work, rolling curls, or pinning down errant strands on formal hairstyles for long periods. Without a natural range of motion, repetitive reaching motions and raised arms can lead to major muscle angst.

Childcare providers: Constantly picking up children, picking up toys, and perching on child-sized tables and chairs puts a severe strain on the backs of childcare providers. Add in that children are often carried as an uneven load on one hip and you have muscle imbalances that can persist for years.

Other top back pain causing jobs for women include teaching, assembly line work, textile jobs, cashier work, and general manual labor.

Red Flags for Back Pain at Work

Even if your job isn’t on the Top 10 list of jobs for back pain, you could still be killing your spine each day you spend at work. You are more likely to experience back pain if your job description includes any of these:

–  Lifting and moving heavy objects

–  Full body vibration from heavy tools or standing on shop floors where heavy manufacturing takes place

–  Repetitive motion, especially if it is repetitive reaching, bending, or twisting

–  Sitting or standing in one position for long periods of time

–  Hunching over a workstation or computer keyboard

Any one of these red flags can be a sign back pain could be in your future. Any combination of these are especially troublesome, leading to chronic aches and pains unless you’re proactive about protecting your body from pain.

Stop Work-Related Back Pain

No matter what you do, there’s no reason to tolerate back pain. A tough job shouldn’t force you into a life of painkillers and surgery. Fight back by directly addressing the root causes of your back pain.

Remember, it’s not just your hard workday yesterday. Back pain is caused by muscle imbalances that develop over time. While you may feel your back pain came on suddenly, the reality is your work habits and work requirements over the past years have been shaping your body since Day 1. Now, you have to take action to put your body back into a comfortable, pain-free alignment.

Whether you have job-related back pain right now, or simply want to prevent future back pain, you will want to identify the muscle imbalances that have formed in your body over time and work on correcting not only your posture, but balancing muscle strength across your body to prevent pain.

That’s exactly what our Lose the Back Pain System helps you do. In just minutes, you can pinpoint the exact muscle imbalances that are causing your back pain… or are already putting you at risk for chronic back pain in the future. And unlike those generic charts of stretches and exercises your doctor or chiropractor may hand you, our Lose the Back Pain System customizes your treatment to your unique needs.

Isn’t it time to put away the pain pills, save money on doctor visits, and stop fretting over back surgery? Discover how our Lose the Back Pain System can help you get back on the road to a pain-free life today. Even if you have one of the worst jobs for back pain.

End Job-Related Back Pain Today!

Lose the Back Pain System

  Discover our Lose the Back Pain System



American Pain Foundation. Back Pain & The Workplace. Retrieved 2012 Mar 19.

Guo, H. Working Hours Spent on Repeated Activities and Prevalence of Back Pain. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2002 Oct; 59(10):680-688

Guo, H, et al. Back Pain Among Workers in the United States: National Estimates and Workers at High Risk. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1995 Nov; 28(5):591-602.

Filed Under: Back Pain at Work
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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12 thoughts on “The 10 Jobs with the MOST Back Pain”

  1. gary says:

    gardeners ,landscapeing,,,could come under ,farming …i know it bloddy hurts me…

  2. Lydian Belknap says:

    I’m almost 88 and my back pain comes from the fact that the “cushions” on my spine are all gone and it is a case of “bones rubbing bones.” What does one do for that other than surgery which I’ve been told
    often makes it worse. Any suggestions?

  3. amin says:

    I have been suffering with Sciatic pain for almost 20 years now and it is frustrating!! The Pain started in 1992. I have tried everything — including the things you have suggested. My latest diagnoses suggests that I do not have Sciatica but that I actually have SI dysfunction. The Doctor basically said it’s a pain in the ass because some days I might have no pain and some days it’s unbearable!! (and that is true). On top of that, I am a pharmacist so although pain meds help me I always “detox”, I guess you could say, so I don’t become physically dependent on them. My next step is to see an osteopath.
    I am not limited in mobility — I can play sports — I just pay for it with pain the next day — or sometimes if the pain is really bad I might just have to rest it out.
    I would truly appreciate any suggestions.

    Pharmacist, Pharmacy Manager Ontario,Canada

    1. SMRDE CCIA says:


  4. Admin says:

    Hi amin,

    The Root cause of 99% of all SI Joint issues stems from and unbalanced and unstable Pelvis, we have written a simple article to help you understand the condition and how to resolve it for good

    Thank you

  5. Susan Burton says:

    For A, pharmacy manager in Ontario Canada:

    I have seen an osteopath for years, and she is worth EVERY dollar I have given her. (My health insurance in the USA does not cover her services.) Although one of my problems was sciatica which is different than what you have, she alleviated my symptoms completely in less than four weeks. I only go back maybe three times a year. Now that I take individual lessons with a yoga therapy instructor, I don’t think I will even need to see her that often.

    She does have a young associate who is just out of D.O. school. He is not as skilled as she is so please research your osteopath carefully.

    My D.O. here in the United States also “cured” my niece of a horrible headache that lasted for months and that no M.D. could understand or solve (even after a CAT scan and an MRI). My D.O. determined the problem, adjusted, and made the headache disappear in ONE visit!

  6. Susan Burton says:

    I don’t understand the author labeled jobs such as housekeeper and waitress as “popular with women”. I don’t think they are POPULAR with women. They are jobs that women typically end up doing in our sexist society. A more accurate title might be “jobs traditionally held by women”. If a man were a housekeeper or a woman were a landscaper, wouldn’t the back injuries be the same? Perhaps it is not necessary to even have the gender division in this article.

  7. cheryl bigleman says:

    I have severe siattic pain for the last 4 yrs now..some days are better then others,i was wondering if theres others out there in a group going through the same to talk to?

    1. Paul Wade says:

      I suffered sciatic since 1997 and in summer of 2014 Chiroprator said cause my body tried to heal itself – the x-rays shows bone spurs

  8. Admin says:

    Hi Cheryl,
    We have a public forum with many individuals with Sciatic pain, please post some questions or state your concerns and you will be amazed at how many people come to your side.

    Update March 2017 We no longer have the forum but we now have a Facebook page you are very welcome to visit.

    Thank you
    Admin (THBI)

  9. Allecia says:

    I have a pain in my tight close to my butt did an MRI it showed my L4 and my L5 resting on some nerve have been doing therapy, it only helps with the stiffness of my leg muscles but I’m still feeling the pain, now its evdv making my back twisted

    1. Admin says:

      Hi Allecia,

      Thank you for your comment and for explaining your situation. A great starting point is our back pain book -The 7 Day Back Pain Cure. It has information regarding the back, treatment options and pain relief plus many other useful aspects to help you. We hope you find it useful.

      You may also like to look into our Lose The Back Pain System

      Thank you
      Admin (THBI)

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