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Jobs for People With Back Problems (No Degree Required!)

People with chronic back pain can sometimes struggle to find jobs that do not require excessive lifting or labor. In this article we will share no-degree jobs for people with back problems. Jamie Bacharach, a licensed Medical Acupuncturist also offers tips for working desk jobs when you have back pain.

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated January 17th, 2024

If you have back problems, there is a good chance that you’ve been telling yourself the same old excuses – I can’t do this, I can’t work like this, what am I going to do?

Chronic back pain can greatly inhibit movement and prevent working at certain types of jobs. But, there are still many job opportunities out there for you.

So, if you have been asking the question “what jobs can I get with a bad back“, we have some answers.

jobs for people with back pain

Work Conditions To Look For If You Have A Bad Back

No matter what your back problem is, it’s important to keep in mind the work conditions that would be comfortable for you.

Everyone’s back issues are different and that needs to be considered carefully when you start your job search. There are lots of jobs that are easy on the back, but some might be better for the upper back versus the lower back. So if you are suffering from lower back issues, your job requirements will be a bit different than those who have upper back issues.

Below are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Does standing or sitting for long periods of time cause more pain?
  • Does your pain only happen when you bend or stretch?
  • Do you suffer from chronic back pain or neck pain?
  • Is upper back or lower back pain your main issue?
  • Are all heavy objects too much, or can you do low-weight lifting?

These factors will make a difference in what would be the best job for you. Now you need to decide which types of jobs will work best for you. While manual labor may be out of the question to the twisting, turning, and heavy lifting that is normally involved, there are many other options.

Do you prefer to work in an office or would you prefer to work from home?

If you are considering an on-location job, it’s important to ask about the work conditions before applying. This way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether the job requirements are doable for your. It is also recommended that you let potential employers know that you have back issues.

This will prevent any misunderstandings when specific job duties are not completed or with the work that is assigned to you.

If you decide to work from home, you can either be hired as an employee or become self-employed. Working from home means you will be at your desk a lot so it is important to buy the right ergonomic chair to help with your posture and prevent horrible flare-ups in your back pain.

Great Jobs for People With BackPain

It’s no secret that back problems are on the rise. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, lower back pain affects 30% of adults in the United States.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on a career or life goals.

1. Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants are in high demand both virtually and in the office. Running offices and the lives management teams is always a must, so if you have the abilities – this can be a great option.

They need excellent organizational skills to keep everything organized and ship deadlines on time. Besides, being a people person is another essential requirement as an administrative assistant needs to be able to interact with various stakeholders within the company.

A virtual assistant can also fall under this job description, you would just work from home instead of an office. Below are a few jobs for people with chronic pain in their backs.

2. Content Writer

If you are looking for a job that will allow you to sit at a desk all day, write effectively, and see results – content writing could be the perfect fit for you. Whether you work for blogs or brands, it is a much-needed job these days.

As one of the most important jobs in today’s marketplace, it is essential that potential employers know what skills and experience you have. This way they can assess whether your profile matches the requirements of the position. You may specialize in newsletters, blogs, or documents.

You will spend long hours at the computer, but a standing desk and frequent breaks can make it a comfortable opportunity.

3. Freelance Journalist

If you’re passionate about writing and want to share your thoughts with the world, freelance journalism is a great way to do it. Freelance journalists don’t need any specific qualifications – all they need are exceptional writing skills.

This makes it an attractive option for anyone who wants to set their own hours and work from anywhere in the world.

There is always plenty of opportunities available for freelance journalists too, especially if you are niche specific. And because demand for their services remains high, no matter what time of year it is, this profession offers long-term stability and security compared to other job options out there.

So go ahead – get up off your chair, pack your bag full of gadgets and notebooks, and hit the road!

4. Freight Broker

A freight broker is a person that makes sure goods are transported from point A to point B. They will prepare shipping and create quotes for trucking services. Learn more about what it takes to become a freight broker with our guide.

The job requires a lot of sitting and phone use so stretching, walking, and ergonomic furniture are a must.

5. Glassblower

If you’re someone who has a passion for working with glass, then this is the career for you! Glassblowers require good hand-eye coordination and skill, but are a great option for those with back or neck injuries.

While sitting is part of the daily routine, there is no heavy lifting, twisting, or bending that would aggravate a back. Becoming a glassblower does require some training, but it is so worth it.

6. Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are in high demand and have many opportunities for progression. You might work on logos, newsletters, website designs, and more. There is always plenty of work for graphic designers and the future looks strong.

With back problems being common among creative professionals, the work environment is tailor-made to suit them. Graphic designers also need strong keyboarding skills as most work involves using a computer or tablet with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator installed.

7. Life Coach

Becoming a life coach means you get to help people with a variety of issues they may be having in life. You can work in a specific niche like helping people with divorce or career changes, or you can be a coach of all trades so to speak.

There is a low barrier to entry, and while education or certification is not required, both are recommended.

8. Luthier

Becoming a luthier is a particularly awesome option for those that love the idea of hands-on-work that creates beautiful pieces. Luthiers make a variety of stringed instruments, but guitars are the most common. While the job is physical, it is not extreme and can be done both sitting and standing which means you will spend your entire day in one position.

There is also little lifting, and with an easy entry point – it is a good option for job-seekers who have some back pain to deal with.

9. Medical writer

Medical writing is a fascinating career that uses your expertise in other areas of life. It can be difficult to find the right job, but if you do, it will offer great opportunities for personal and professional growth.

The medical writing industry is extremely varied, so you are bound to find something that interests you. In order to succeed as a medical writer, you will need excellent research skills and good communication skills. You should also have an interest in both healthcare and the scientific process – these are essential qualities for any good medical writer!

10. Phlebotomist

If you’re interested in working as a phlebotomist, make sure to have some medical training first. This is because blood samples must be collected properly and quickly if the patient isn’t going to suffer any long-term adverse effects.

A Phlebotomist collects blood samples for research purposes – this can range from studying diseases and illnesses to testing new medications or treatments. Phlebotomists do a mix of standing and sitting which can be great for those with chronic back problems since it keeps things moving.

Learn how to become a phlebotomist here.

11. Photographer

With proper training and practice, you can build a pretty successful photography business. While some might think this would be counter-intuitive to being a good job for those with back problems – it can be a great option.

If you have lower back pain that is chronic, it may not be a great pick for a job. But those with other less ever pains the minor moving and bending you do as a photographer might actually feel good on the body. You will be carrying photography equipment, but it is usually not incredibly heavy.

If families are too much for you, work with pets or do landscapes. You can also look into doing editorial work.

12. Recruiter

Recruiters are usually the first point of contact for those looking for a job. So, it is a career path that will be around for a while and is great for those that have back issues. Recruiters spend a lot of time on the phone and the internet, so lots of stretching and walking should be done throughout the day.

Helping companies find employees and out-of-work people find jobs is not only a pretty solid job, but it is a feel-good job.

13. Social media specialist

Are you passionate about social media? If so, consider becoming a social media specialist. Working with Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and more requires a unique talent and passion.

This position requires good design skills and the ability to stay on top of trends in order to create engaging content that will reach and engage your target audience. With some creative flair and a genuine interest in social media, you can build a successful business too! Doing consultations for companies and brands can be pretty lucrative.

This is another job that will primarily be computer-based, so make sure you do those stretches and take a lot of breaks.

14. Trade School Teacher

If you have spent years working in a trade job, being a teacher is a great next step. A degree is not required to teach trade programs in most schools. You will need to come with a lot of experience though.

Keeping Your Back Healthy

No matter which job you decide to go with, it is important to do some self-care. Taking care of your back is important and making it a priority will help you ensure you can do your job.

Some simple steps for general back care include:

  • Consider acupuncture which can help relieve pain
  • Invest in ergonomic furniture if you will be spending hours at a desk
  • Physical therapy can help you strengthen the spine and reduce pain
  • Limit repetitive movements
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take frequent breaks and stretch, go for a walk, or just pet the dog

Acupuncturist Recommended Back Care Tips

Jamie Bacharach, a licensed Medical Acupuncturist at Acupuncture Jerusalem, offered the following tips for those working desk jobs.

  1. Make sure your chair is set up properly: Your chair should support the natural curve of your spine and you want your feet to be flat on the ground, with your knees level with your hips. You may also find it useful to put a pillow on your chair to support the curve in your lumbar spine. Ensuring the lumbar is supported is critical to minimize back pain.
  2. Make sure your desk is set up properly: When working at your desk your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle and ensure that any items or tools that you often use are within reaching distance. Additionally, you could consider investing in a convertible desk, which allows you to switch between sitting and standing as you please.
  3. Take breaks and stretch: For every hour that you’re at your desk working, you should allow yourself a 5 minute break where you stand up and move around. You can perform some light stretching during this break as well. I recommend neck stretches and shoulder rolls.
  4. Use proper posture when sitting: Make sure you sit deep in your chair with your back on the back rest, and use a pillow for lumbar support. Avoid leaning forward and try to keep your shoulders relaxed. You can also engage in physical activity outside of work that helps strengthen your spine and core to ensure that you maintain proper posture and avoid slouching.

Qualifying as a Disability

If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain you might be able to qualify for disability. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects those with physical issues that might prevent them from holding a stable job.

To be protected by the ADA, you must prove that you have a physical or mental issue that will limit you from doing activities on a daily basis. Back injuries and chronic pain that have been diagnosed by a doctor might be enough to help you be protected by the ADA.

Once you are protected, prospective employers will not be able to discriminate against you and will need to provide accommodations to help you work comfortably. This can include a flexible workday, frequent breaks to stretch and move, or providing ergonomic furniture and tools to get the job done.

Disability Resources

If you have a verified back issue that places you on disability, there are resources available for you in most states. Currently, 34 states have a Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies that offers programs for the disabled. Each state offers different services.

Common services include:

  • Employment services to help you find a job that works with your disability
  • Counseling to assist you in getting where you want to be with your job
  • Education services to assist in training you for a new job

Some states have much more! You can view vocational rehab agency for each state here.

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.