Say Goodbye to Back Pain—Tips for the Office
Tension in your neck, pain in your lower back, stiffness in your throat: for those of us who spend our days sitting in an office, these symptoms will all sound pretty familiar. Sitting for too long, especially in an unhealthy position, will cause problems for all of us sooner or later.
Are you an employer? Here, you can learn about what you can do to promote the health of your employees.
But instead of simply accepting your fate and spending your days fighting an aching back, check out these effective tips for how you can relieve chronic back pain and prevent discomfort.
1. Adopt a healthy posture
Are you slumping in your seat? Is your head bent over your screen? When we’re sitting, our bodies always adopt the position that requires the least amount of effort. Unfortunately, this has dire consequences for our necks. The longer we sit like this, the more this area of the spine becomes cramped and tense.
To avoid this “pain in the neck”, make sure that you always sit with a straight back in your chair with your legs bent at 90 degrees, and that your computer screen is at eye level. If you’re working on a laptop, there are fitted mounts designed to raise it up to an optimal level.
Some of us also experience pain from using a computer mouse, which radiates through the arm to the back and can lead to stiffness. If this sounds familiar, try a vertical mouse, an ergonomic mouse alternative, or lose the mouse entirely and work from a touchpad. It might require some practice at first, but it will pay off in the long run.
2. Dynamic sitting
So your employer decides to invest in you and your coworkers by putting extra back-friendly chairs in the office. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a pain-free future. The truth is, there is much more to healthy sitting than just a chair. It has been shown that the best thing you can do is to constantly change your position while seated so that the muscles aren’t able to tense up in the first place. There are chairs that are especially suitable for adopting different positions. You can also use a cushion to keep your muscles in motion. Just as effective is sitting on a Pezzi ball, but make sure you choose one that fits to your table and leg length.
Another thing: make sure to regularly alternate between sitting and standing. With height-adjustable desks, this is easy to do. If you don’t have one, have no fear, there are now some helpful extensions for tables with which you can create your very own standing desk. The rule of thumb? 50% sitting, 25% standing and 25% moving. Which brings us straight to the next tip…
3. Get moving!
The only physical activity you do in the office is heading to the bathroom and back? Then perhaps it’s time to build some more movement into your work time. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and try to find other opportunities to move about. For example, try going over to speak to your colleague directly instead of sending a message. This personal contact also helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures a better working relationship.
Plus, do you really want to sit at your desk the whole day and spend your lunch hour sitting as well? What about planning a more active break and heading for a lunchtime workout either alone or with your colleagues? Not only will your muscles thank you for this active timeout, your brain will also benefit. You can head back to work fully relaxed and with a clear head.
4. Try an office chair workout
To avoid becoming locked in a rigid posture and to give your muscles the variety they need, it often helps to do some short stretching from time to time. Rotating your head and shoulders helps to activate all the muscles in the upper back and can release tension. In addition, there are plenty of muscle-relaxing office exercises on the internet for people who sit a lot. Choose the ones that feel the best to you and where you feel the strongest effect. Plus you’ll kill two birds with one stone: these exercises will help combat the dreaded midday slump, keeping your energy level high.
5. Take it easy
Yeah, you read that right: start taking a more relaxed approach to your job. When we are under pressure or subjected to a never-ending marathon of meetings, our muscles tense up. And when we sit with tension, it inevitably leads to pain. This means that we can employ an ergonomically optimal sitting position, but our psyche will still put a damper on us. Doing some breathing exercises or taking a brief meditation break can be helpful here, bringing you back into balance and allowing you to collect your thoughts. Taking more frequent breaks also promotes rest and relaxation for your back muscles.
With our tips, you can prevent back pain and, at best, even eliminate it completely. Plus, you will likely increase your productivity, because a pain-free life means more energy and a better mood.
So get started today! Your back will thank you for it.