Does sitting at your desk for hours cause back pain? If so, it’s not just you. About 25% of adults complained of lower back pain within the previous three months in one survey.
Everything from the way you set up your desk to your posture while you work can affect how your back feels. When the muscles are strained and tense, you increase your chances of having aches and pains.
If you’re not sure how to prevent back pain at work, check out these tips.
Position Your Desk and Computer Properly
Positioning your computer screen so the top of it is at eye level reduces strain while you work. Different positioning forces you to tilt your head all day, which can strain the muscles. If you don’t have an adjustable-height desk, put your monitor on a stand to raise it to the appropriate level.
Adjust the monitor settings to make the screen easy to read. If the brightness is wrong or the font size is too small, you might have to squint or lean forward to read it well. This can contribute to neck and back pain.
Everything you need to use frequently, such as your mouse or phone, should be within reach while you sit. You shouldn’t have to strain, twist, or lean to reach those items. Rearrange your desk setup if necessary.
Use a Standing Desk
For some people, using a standing desk instead of a traditional desk is a way to prevent back pain. An upright position might relieve some of the strain on your muscles. It also allows you to move around a little all the time to keep your muscles moving.
If you don’t want to spend your whole work day standing, consider an adjustable desk. This type of desk lets you switch between standing and sitting positions. You can adjust the desk to various heights for a better match to your specific height and needs whether you’re standing or sitting.
Get a Supportive Chair
If you’re trying to figure out how to prevent back pain from sitting, focus first on your chair. Invest in an ergonomic office chair with lots of adjustment options to get a good, supportive fit. It’s best to test out chairs before you buy one.
Lumbar support on your chair helps support your back to reduce pain. You can also add a lumbar support pillow if your chair doesn’t have built-in support.
An adjustable height chair lets you find the ideal position so you can have your feet flat on the floor and your thighs parallel to the floor. Many chairs also have adjustable armrests to choose a height that lets you rest your arms comfortably. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle when resting on them to prevent strain on your shoulders.
A swiveling base is also helpful for reducing pain caused by twisting your upper body. If you need something on another part of your desk, you can simply rotate your chair instead of twisting to reach it.
Focus on Your Posture
Are you guilty of slouching at your desk while you work? Poor posture not only causes pain, but it can also negatively affect your flexibility, joints, and balance.
Pay attention to your posture to help prevent neck pain and back pain. Proper posture puts less strain on your ligaments and muscles to reduce pain.
Your back has three natural curves, which your posture should help maintain. Your back should be straight with your shoulders back and down for proper positioning. Avoid slumping forward or leaning back.
Talk Hands Free
When figuring out how to prevent neck pain, your phone could be to blame. If you use your shoulder to prop the phone to your ear, it forces your neck into an unnatural position and strains the muscles. A headset or speaker phone lets you talk comfortably on the phone without propping it up and straining your neck.
If you sit at your desk for hours without much movement, you’re more likely to have neck and back pain. Don’t skip your regular breaks at work. Instead of staying at your desk during those breaks, get up and walk around.
Take mini breaks between your longer scheduled breaks. Even something as simple as standing up or stretching your arms and back without leaving your workstation can help ease the tension and potentially prevent pain. Refilling your water bottle or taking a restroom break can also get you out of your chair.
Space out work duties that get you up from your desk, such as making copies, getting something from the supply room, or visiting a coworker’s office to ask a question. Spreading these activities throughout the day gets you up from your desk multiple times to ease tension and keep you moving.
Strengthen Your Core
Strengthening your core and your body in general can help prevent pain no matter how long you spend at your desk. Incorporate core strengthening exercises to improve your overall posture while strengthening those muscles that support you while you sit at your desk. Planks, crunches, and similar moves are good examples of core exercises.
Regular stretching can also help reduce back pain. It keeps your muscles loose and more relaxed instead of tight and tense. Stretching exercises are easy to do at work and as part of your regular exercise routine.
A general exercise routine can also help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Being in a healthy weight range puts less pressure on your spine, which can reduce back pain overall.
Visit a Chiropractor
When it comes to neck and back pain, a chiropractor can be a useful ally. Chiropractors check your spine alignment and make adjustments when needed to keep you more comfortable. Your chiropractor can also give you personalized tips based on your body as well as different exercises that can help.
Learn How to Prevent Back Pain
Figuring out how to prevent back pain can take some trial and error. Finding a position and desk setup that helps to prevent back pain is a good start. Stay active and take care of yourself for more support.
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