According to the American Chiropractic Association, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In recent decades, back problems have become especially prevalent in office settings where employees stay seated for long periods of time. We might not think of office jobs as being especially physically demanding, but they can actually be pretty tough on our spinal health. Humans were never meant to stay seated for hours at a time. Sitting for too long can put excessive stress on vertebrae, resulting in pain and inflammation in the lower back. If left unchecked, this back pain can become downright debilitating. Fortunately, there are a few simple things we can all do to keep our backs healthy and pain-free in the workplace.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
Even the best office chair in the world will only provide adequate back support if you sit in it properly. Avoid slouching or sliding your hips forward, and try to keep your lower back in contact with the curved lumbar support structure in your seatback. Keep your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable distance so you don’t have to reach for them. This will prevent your shoulders from becoming stiff and sore.
Take Breaks From Sitting
The key to preventing back pain is to avoid staying in any one position for longer than an hour or so. Look for opportunities to get up and stretch your legs periodically. It doesn’t take much – just a few quick trips to the breakroom can make a big difference at the end of the day. Do your best to stand up and move around at least once every two hours.
Exercise & Stretch
Adaily regimen of light stretching and calisthenics is an excellent preventative measure against back pain. Exercise can help you to build protective muscle around your vertebrae, while stretching will ease muscle tension and alleviate pressure on your spine. Take care not to overexert yourself if you’re already suffering from pack pain, however, as this could exacerbate the problem.
Invest in Ergonomic Furniture
Spending the bulk of your work week sitting in a poorly-designed chair can quickly make back problems go from bad to worse. If you’ve been suffering from back pain and you know your chair is partially to blame, it might be time to look for a better option. Imagine walking around in ill-fitting shoes all day. After a while, your legs and back would start to get pretty sore. The same is true when you sit in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time. A good chair can give your back the support it needs to stay comfortably seated for long periods of time.