According to research, eight out of ten people experience back pain at some point in their lives. The number of people whose jobs involve long hours of sitting – which is one of the most common causes for back pain – is rapidly increasing. The position of the body throughout the entire day, highly contributes to feeling more or less discomfort in the lower part of the spine. Aside from sitting, the lack of movement during the workday, slouching forward in the chair, and holding a telephone between the ear and the shoulder, also causes pain in the lower back. However, a few activities can prevent or minimize the discomfort.
Modify the Chair and Desk Area
Physiotherapists suggest that leaning forward in the chair crushes the disks in person’s lower back to be in uncomfortable position, and puts a strain on his or her neck and shoulders. Therefore, in order to relieve the back pain it is recommended to everyone who suffers from this problem to start sitting in the chair with lumbar support –a natural forward curve at belly button level. If you do not have this opportunity, you can also put a pillow behind your back, and the effect will be the same.
The height of the chair should be set up in a way that your knees are at 90-degree angle and your feet firmly on the ground while sitting. Your arms should also be at 90-degree angles, so try to remove the armrests, or at least lower them. That way the shoulders will stay low, and put less pressure on the lower back.
The monitor of the computer should be about an arm’s length away and slightly below the eye level. Consequently, you will not have to lean forward, but you will be able to sit back. Try to keep the keyboard 4-6 inches in front of you, and the mouse as close to you in order to prevent too much bending.
Take a Break
Everyone who sits for most of the working time should take breaks during the day. Muscles must be relaxed and stretched, and having a break that includes walking or standing, will relieve back pain as well. If work allows you, try to take a five-minute break per hour. Use your lunch break to walk or do an activity that does not involve sitting.
Yoga and Pilates are wonderful training programs that will help you stretch and feel relaxed. Pilates workouts strengthen core support and provide gentle stretches for tight back muscles. So, grab your workout equipment and start doing some of the exercises. Lie on your back, bend your knees and have your feet flat on the floor. Feet, ankles, and knees should be aligned – hip-distance apart – and ready for the pelvic tilt exercise. This workout is perfect for abdominal muscles, pelvis, and the entire back.
Optimize the Phone
Tucking the phone between the ear and the shoulder, when your hands are not free, is very harmful for the back and the neck. Instead of this, try to use a headset or a speakerphone, especially if the conversation is longer than 5 minutes.
Back pain is very frequent, and sometimes we are not even aware of the damage we inflict to our back by sitting for a long period of time. Therefore, in order to prevent the pain from appearing, or to minimize it if you have already experienced it, follow the previous guidelines. Walk, stretch, workout, and pay attention to the way you are sitting in the office, or talking on the phone. Even the smallest actions (as taking on the phone without using hands) can make the condition worse and very painful. Therefore, start living and working a healthy and painless life.