Given that 20% of Americans report having some kind of back problems, it’s important for everyone to pay attention to their back health during the day. One of the places you can hurt your back is while you’re at work, even if you don’t have a strenuous job. As more people sit down throughout the day at a desk, back pain at work has actually increased.
Here are five ways to beat back pain while you’re at your office.
1. Focus on Posture
Even while you’re sitting, you could be damaging your spine and back with bad posture. This positioning can lead you to suffer discomfort while walking or running, just because you sat the wrong way.
While you’re sitting, you need to keep your feet flat on the ground. If you’re sitting at a desk, you should keep your head in a neutral position with your ears over and directly above your shoulders. This ensures that your whole body, from top to bottom, is in a position that’s healthy for you.
You need your weight equally distributed throughout your body as you’re seated. Your bones put weight on your hips and you need the lower portions of hips to only take as much pressure as they need to.
When you round your lower back, your head and your shoulders are going to slump forward.
Make sure your chair’s height is at the right height. Your thighs should be angled down only slightly. This manages to keep your weight distributed throughout the bones you’re sitting on.
2. Adjust Your Monitor and Keyboard
Where your monitor and keyboard are located makes a big difference in how your back feels. You need to be looking in the right direction and have your tools in the right spot to work comfortably.
Your monitor should be level with your nose. With a monitor too low, you’re going to have your had angled down and put stress on your neck. Working with a laptop is a challenge, so use a second monitor if it’s possible.
Your keyboard needs to be close enough to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle. No matter how fast you type or how comfortable you might be in another position, your elbow must be at 90 degrees for good posture.
Notice if you start slumping down via your shoulders to touch the keys. If you notice you’re doing this, then you need to reposition things. Put your mouse at the same level as your keyboard, elevating it if necessary.
3. Take Time To Stand
While it might seem odd, having a standing desk setup or an adjustable desktop that allows you to stand could make a big difference in your health and comfort. Our bodies were designed to walk through most of the day, foraging, hunting, and running around. Sitting in a chair can be a relief after a long day but it’s not the ideal way to treat your body.
Consider other ways to move that do more for your posture. If you’re able to spend an hour or two standing during the day, try that for better back health.
More people are using standing desks to get more out of their workspace. However, that’s not an option of everyone. There are desktop converters to allow you to turn your desk into a standing set up and back easily.
If you have a conversion setup, you have flexibility and can go back and forth as you need to.
4. Stay off the Phone
If you’re using your phone for more than calls throughout the day, you’re going to suffer problems with your back. People have a natural tendency to bend their head down when they’re using a phone or a tablet. When using a touchscreen, notice how you hold your body in front of the screen.
When you hold your head forward, you’ll end up with painful muscle strains over a short term period. If you do so over a long term period, you’ll find that you could end up with a disc or join problem. The longer you hold that position, the more likely you are to suffer a permanent injury to your body.
If you’re responding to emails or doing a quick bit of research, switch over to a desktop computer whenever possible. You’ll save your spine and stay more comfortable throughout your workday.
5. Keep it Moving
If you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re going to suffer from persistent muscle or back issues. instead of sitting around, get up and move your body ever half an hour or so. This has proven to reduce back and neck issues.
If you’re suffering from back problems or soreness, consider getting out of your chair.
If you have trouble remembering, set a silent alarm to remind yourself to get out of your chair. While it might not be possible to get up each time the alarm goes off, it’s helpful to set it in such a way where you can hit snooze. If you’re able to keep your schedule, you’ll be able to stretch and avoid pain.
If it’s too hard for you to walk, you might need to see a chiropractor. People won don’t seek help or put these changes into place soon enough are likely to deal with long term issues.
Back Pain At Work is a Serious Problem
If you’re suffering back pain at work, take it seriously even if you don’t work a stressful job. You could be suffering avoidable problems that you still have the chance to correct. If you take some action now, you’ll avoid expensive surgery later.
If you want to give back pain the one-two punch, check out this guide for foods that help fight back pain.