Tips for Minimizing Back Pain When You Sit at a Desk all Day
Working in an office can be terrible for your spine. Especially if your workplace isn’t optimized for good back alignment, it can lead to terrible pain and, over time, some serious permanent back problems. Even if your office IS designed to be ergonomic, your own bad habits can work against you and lead to problems.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to counteract these problems and keep your back healthy and strong. Here are 5 tips for minimizing back pain when you sit at a desk all day.
1. Use correct posture. Slouching, leaning back, or sitting at otherwise odd angles wreaks havoc on your spine. Be sure you sit so that your thighs lie flat and are parallel with the ground. Keep your feet flat on the ground, and bend your forearms so that your elbows are parallel with the floor.
2. Get an ergonomic chair. Most chair backs are straight and flat, but your spine has a natural inward curve. If possible, get a chair that’s designed to accommodate that curve and can be adjusted to your back’s specific needs. Not only will these chairs reduce lower back pain and increase general comfort, they can also improve your circulation.
3. Use a hands-free headset. As you talk on the phone, the natural tendency is to crane your neck towards the receiver. Particularly if you have a job where you use the phone a lot, this can cause tremendous pain over time. Switching to a hands-free headset is a great way to keep your neck in line.
4. Stretch. There are a number of stretches you can do for your back after a long day at work that help alleviate pain. Try rotating your shoulders forwards and backwards, or lying face up on the floor and pulling your knees in towards your chest with your arms. Do a little online research or consult with your chiropractor to find other stretches that will work for you.
5. Keep active. None of the tips for minimizing back pain when you sit at a desk all day will do any good if you really are just sitting all day. No matter what kind of chair you have or adjustments you make, the mere act of sitting for that long will cause muscle atrophy, which contributes to back pain. So every half hour or so, get up and do something, just for a couple of minutes. Go to the restroom or the break room. Take a walk around the office. Do anything, just so long as you’re active.
These tips for minimizing back pain when you sit at a desk can help, but they’re still only tips. If after putting these ideas into practice, your back continues to give you problems, talk to a chiropractor immediately. There might be some deeper spinal issue at work. Or it could simply be because everyone’s back is different. A good chiropractor can help you find the office practices and stretches that work best for you.