The 6 Best Ways to Reduce Back Pain at the Office
Office workers are often forced to contend with uncomfortable chairs and repetitive motions while on the job. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re probably no stranger to back pain. Sitting in the same position for eight hours on end can cause stiffness in your neck and tension in your back or shoulders. However, there are plenty of simple ways you can reduce your pain while still at the office.
When you need medical care for your spine pain, turn to the skilled professionals at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery. No matter your condition, you can be confident that our doctors will do everything in our power to work to alleviate your pain. We understand that every individual has unique needs and we will tailor our approach to cater to each and every patient.
How to Reduce Back Pain at the Office
Back pain can be debilitating and may make it challenging to participate in activities at work and at home. Follow our tips below to help alleviate back pain caused by your office habits and equipment.
Practice Good Posture at Work
It’s easy to slouch at work, especially toward the end of the day. However, practicing good posture can help prevent any back or neck discomfort. Try to keep your head and neck aligned above your shoulders, and make sure you sit up straight. Consider keeping your feet flat on the floor instead of crossing your legs, as this can help alleviate hip strain. If your feet do not reach the floor comfortably, try using a footrest or phone book for extra support.
Find the Right Office Chair
The right office chair can play a substantial role in reducing your back pain. When searching for your ideal chair, make sure it has all of the following features:
- Adjustable height, backrest, and armrest
- Lumbar support
- Comfortable material
While the perfect chair might be a little expensive, it will likely be sturdy and high-quality. It will also reduce your chance of experiencing back pain, which could save you thousands down the road.
Ensure Your Monitor and Peripherals Are in Appropriate Positions
Your computer screen should be about an arm’s length away from you and positioned slightly below eye level. By having the monitor at an appropriate distance and angle, you won’t have to crane your neck all day. You should also position your peripherals so you shouldn’t need to lean over to reach your keyboard and mouse. If you find yourself squinting at your monitor, turn the brightness down, activate your computer’s night light setting, or consider using a pair of blue-light glasses.
Prioritize Comfort During Phone Calls
While many individuals cradle the phone between their neck and shoulders to keep their hands free, this uncomfortable position can place severe strain on your joints and muscles. Instead, try using a headset or headphones with a built-in microphone. You’ll still be able to take notes without causing any pain and take any call with ease.
Stretch Every Hour
Sitting in a chair for eight hours a day can make anyone uncomfortable. Fortunately, stretching for at least 60 seconds every hour is enough to reduce discomfort and stiffness. Strengthening your core muscles through yoga or sit-ups will work your stomach and back muscles, improve posture, and reduce pain. To avoid back pain and stiffness, try getting up to go on a five- to ten-minute walk every two hours.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
We all want to look professional at work, which often means wearing dress shoes or high heels. However, both options can quickly become uncomfortable. High heels in particular can significantly alter the body’s center of gravity, negatively affecting back support and posture. Consider keeping a comfortable pair of sneakers at your desk to change into when not in meetings or walking around the office.
Is My Home Office Causing My Back Pain?
For most people, working from home means working at the kitchen table, on the couch, or even on their bed. Whichever location in your home you choose, you may not have the support you need for healthy posture. Those who have a home office with a desk and office chair still may not have the proper equipment to keep their posture healthy.
Working for extended periods while sitting in hunched positions can lead to neck pain, shoulder stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as wrist and forearm pain. We all need to work to pay the bills, but we should do so safely. Having your computer too low or too high, not having the right back support in your chair, and other factors can work against you and negatively impact your health and spine alignment.
How to Improve Your Home Office For Better Posture
If you work from home, you most likely spend several hours a day sitting while working on a computer. Working from home does not mean that you have to sacrifice your health. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your workspace to keep you and your spine healthy, including:
Keep Your Laptop or Monitor at Eye Level
Your head is one of the heaviest parts of your body, and your neck and back work hard to hold it up. Tipping your head forward too far strains the neck. This strain filters down into the shoulders and upper back, creating tension. Aim to have the center of the screen at eye level to avoid bending your neck up or down.
Sit Back in Your Chair
It is normal to find yourself slouching forward. You might even realize that you are slouching and then strain your back to try to remain sitting straight. Straining your back in such a way can cause your spine to become stiff and sore.
In its most relaxed position, your lower back curves slightly forward toward your stomach. When you lean forward, the lumbar spine bends and puts pressure on the intervertebral lumbar discs. To prevent this, sit back in your chair so that the chair’s backrest can support some of your weight. Office chairs typically have the necessary support, but if yours does not, try adding a pillow behind the lower part of your back for better support. Using a cushion or a rolled-up towel may help support you if you are using a kitchen chair.
Make Time for Movement
Remembering to include exercise and movement into your routine can be challenging. Many individuals become comfortable sitting all day and hardly moving at all, but being sedentary can have long-term effects on your overall health. Setting a reminder to carve out time for low-impact aerobic activity provides your tissues with the essential blood flow needed to help minimize back pain. Taking a daily walk can significantly improve mood, self-esteem, and productivity, as well as prevent illness or diseases.
When to Seek Medical Help for Back Pain
If your back pain is severe or does not respond to your changes in ergonomics and lifestyle, it may be time to see a doctor to address your pain. A few signs it may be time to seek medical help include the following:
- Your pain is constant and intense
- Your pain worsens when you lay down
- Your pain extends into your legs, especially below the knee
- You feel numbness or tingling in one or both legs
- You are losing weight unintentionally
- You have swelling or redness at the site of your back pain
At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our spine surgeons and specialists are experts in minimally invasive treatments. We can help address your pain quickly while minimizing your discomfort.
Discover Back Pain Treatments at Orthopedic Laser & Spine Surgery
It’s essential to monitor your back pain. Most discomfort will go away on its own within a few weeks, but if pain persists or worsens, it is vital to contact a doctor. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our board-certified doctors use state-of-the-art technology to address a variety of back conditions.
We also utilize the latest techniques in minimally invasive surgery so you can get back to the life you enjoyed before your discomfort started. Our doctors will always first try conservative healing methods, such as physical therapy, before suggesting surgery. Call (855) 853-6542 or complete our online contact form to ease your back pain today!