According to some researchers, it’s estimated that back pain will affect over 80% of the world’s population in the future, while 39% Australians who suffer from back pain refer to a working condition as the cause of this health issue. Office workers spend at least 25 hours a week in a sitting position what negatively affects back area and leads to progressive musculoskeletal problems, meaning that even effortless seating in the office may sometimes become dangerous. So, if your job requires constant working at a computer, there’s a great probability that your back pain occurs due to your working environment. Even though it can be terrifically unpleasant, sometimes even lasting, back pain can be stopped if you adopt some of the following changes:
Take short breaks
Even if you’re working in a company which has strict break schedules, you can afford your body several short breaks during the business hours. Instead of sitting in the same position all the time, try to move your legs and hands frequently or take a few periodical get ups whenever you have a chance. You can walk to the printer, a photocopier, to the company’s cafe to grab a drink, or simply use your regular 30 minutes break to take a relaxing walk around the building. This way you’ll activate your muscles and joints, prevent stiffness and soothe existing pain in your back area. In case your job requires long intervals of standing, try to relax your muscles by taking short sitting breaks.
Perform relaxing exercises
Work-related back pain is usually caused by a lasting tension in muscles or due to an excessive pressure on you’re spinal region, which is why it’s important to include simple exercises into your everyday life. Yoga stands out as a very effective way to relax numb back muscles, but you can also perform easy sit-ups which can help you to relieve the pain from your back. You can even bring a Pilates ball to work and sit on it during your short breaks, just make sure it is the same height as desk chair on which you sit.
Improve the way you sit in office
Even though excessive sitting at the workplace presents the main reason why you’re struggling with the pain in your back, your trouble may also come from an inappropriate position of your body during sitting. So, make sure you sit close enough to your desk, where your face shouldn’t be more than an arm’s width away from the monitor. You should keep your feet flat on the floor while sitting and your legs bent at a right angle. Position your keyboard so you can work on it without having your wrists hanging too much above, and ensure your mouse is placed within the normal reach of your hand so you don’t have to stretch your arm while working.
Ensure you sit on the right chair
If you want to overcome a persistent pain in your back, maybe you should check the quality and suitability of your office chair. It should provide the optimal level of comfort, minimal stress for your muscles and stable support for your spine, so it’s important to choose the one which features those characteristics. In case you work from home, get yourself one of those good reception chairs which you can customize according to your body proportions. Requiring a special chair may not be possible in the company where you’re working, but you can adjust the one you already have so it provides a good lumbar support and comfy sitting. Adjust the back of the chair so it is gently reclined and ensure that the height of the seat allows keeping your feet entirely on the floor. Place a pillow between your lower back and backrest if you don’t feel like your chair is providing enough support for your back. Pain in the upper back area may be caused by inappropriate position of your hands, so you should set the armrests of your chair in the way they keep your arms at 90 a degree angle and your shoulders relaxed.
Make your phone calls more comfortable
Many people, who spend plenty of their office time making or receiving phone calls, usually hold the phone between their head and shoulder, which is an absolute disaster for neck muscles. If you are among these people, it’s important to know that this creates constant tension in your neck, disorder of the neck bones and irritating pain. So, in case you are on the phone frequently, it’s recommended to use a headset or to hold the phone in your hand, so your neck and back can remain in the proper position.
Out of all work-related diseases, back pain definitely belongs to the most common ones, but sometimes it’s not necessary to reach out for a bunch of painkillers or spend months on a sick leave, since you can reduce it by having an active life and making your workplace ergonomic.