Office back pain is a widespread phenomenon and can be debilitating in some cases. This post contains 11 quick and easy to implement strategies that have been shown to help reduce office back pain apart from getting the best office chair for back pain or the best office chair for long hours. No one size fits all solution will work for every person; it’s important to try out different methods as you find what works best for you.
1) Keep your torso aligned with your spine. Use an ergonomic chair that supports the natural curves of your spinal column and pay attention to good posture. This will protect not just your back, but also other parts of the body like the muscles in our necks and shoulders which carry a lot of tension throughout the day.
2) Keep your feet flat on the floor. If you notice that your heels are coming up while you’re sitting, try putting some small book or a lump of clay under your feet to lift them off the floor so you can focus on keeping your spine straight.
3) Make sure to take breaks. Your body was not designed to sit in a chair for 4-8 hours at a time. It needs movement to keep everything functioning optimally. You don’t have to exercise vigorously, just move around and make sure you’re getting up and walking around at least once every hour.
4) Exercising is crucial. A study showed that in people who have back pain but also take regular exercise, their risk of future back pain is reduced by 40%. Even light exercise can help the muscles relax and ease tension throughout the body.
5) Get rid of all unnecessary stress at work. If you are not able to control your stress levels at work, you will be more likely to tense up as soon as you sit down and even before that, which can lead to chronic muscle tension and contribute to back pain. Try changing how you deal with stressful situations at your job or if necessary, finding ways to reduce or eliminate those jobs altogether. Dealing with stress is no joke, it affects all of the body’s systems and contributes to many health problems.
6) Use ergonomic equipment. This doesn’t just apply to the chair you sit on but also the equipment you use during your work day. If you’re working at a desk, make sure your monitor is in a position that allows it to be easily viewable while keeping your neck and spine properly aligned and not slouching forward.
7) Consider investing in an ergonomic keyboard tray which will help keep you from having to lean forward too much as you type. For people using a laptop computer, it’s important to get the right size keyboard to allow you to keep your wrists straight while typing.
8) If necessary, invest in an ergonomic posture and chair. These chairs can be expensive but judging by the number of people who experience back pain because they aren’t using them correctly or at all, they are well worth it. Many office chairs also have keyboards embedded in them which makes them much easier to use properly.
9) Create a lumbar support pillow that keeps you from having to lean forward as far as you would with your back pressed against the seat of your chair. They’re pretty easy to come by and inexpensive to boot (most are around 10-20 dollars).
10) Find other ways to reduce your stress. Studies show that even just 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day can help people with back pain and will also reduce their overall stress levels by 20%. It’s also important to set aside time to wind down after work and relax, even just 10 minutes at the end of the day can help.
11) Educate yourself. The more you understand about the causes of back pain, the better equipped you will be to prevent pain and know how to react once you experience it. Learn about muscle physiology and why good posture is so important.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is not a substitute for going to the doctor. You should always see your doctor if you have back pain and are experiencing any other major health problems. Also, you should keep a diary of your back pains and monitor them to see if they’re directly related to your work or not.