6 Tips For Getting Rid of Work-Related Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common ailments in our society. The majority of the population in most western countries will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. In some cases this pain is mild and causes only little discomfort, in more serious cases the pain can be debilitating, seriously affecting a person’s quality of life.
Bad posture at work is a common cause of back pain. Keeping your neck in an unnatural position looking at your computer screen all day can cause neck and upper back pain. Overarching or slouching when sitting at your desk can lead to lower back pain. Standing all day, performing the same movements with your body over and over can also cause a number of health problems, including back and neck pain.
Whether you work sitting down or standing up, there are a number of things you can do to encourage good posture to help avoid back pain. Try to keep the following tips in mind next time you head into work.
Keep Your Head Aligned Over Your Body
Whether sitting down or standing up, try to keep your head aligned over your neck, torso pelvis and legs. Avoid sticking your head out to look at your screen, but instead put the screen closer.
Keep Your Mouse Close
Your mouse should be next to your keyboard to avoid twisting your shoulder or wrist when using it. If using your mouse is causing RSI, try to switch to a trackpad or trackball.
Get an Ergonomic Chair
If you sit in an uncomfortable chair 8 hours a day or more, back pain or other ailments are unavoidable. Choose a chair that’s adjustable in height, has lumbar support and preferably allows separate adjustment of the back and seat.
Many people overarch their backs, which puts a lot of strain on the lower back. Twisting your hips so they move up in the front and down in the back will reduce the arch in your lower back and create a more natural posture that doesn’t put excessive strain on your lower back. You can practise this by standing against the wall with your head, feet and upper back against the wall; then twist your hips and check (with a mirror or by feeling with your hand) if your lower back is moving closer to the wall.
Pay Attention to Desk Ergonomics
Keep your keyboard close to you, your ideal desk height will be when your elbows are at about a 90 degree 90 and your upper arms in line with your torso. Position your screen at about 2 to 3 inches above eye level.
If you work sitting down, make sure you take ample breaks away from the desk. Try to take a short walk at least every hour. Besides walking you can do some simple stretches or yoga exercises to undo the damage done to your muscles by sitting down for long stretches of time. You could also consider an adjustable desk so you can alternate between sitting and standing at work. Also if you work standing up you should move around and stretch your muscles regularly.
Back pain is a serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Severe back pain can drastically impact your life and even lead to permanent injury and increase your chances of injury and disease. Taking some time to adjust your posture and perform some stretches can help prevent back pain and significantly improve your quality of life.