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August 31, 2023

How to Lessen Back Pain for Office Workers

How to Lessen Back Pain for Office Workers

As summer comes to an end and the work grind is picking up, it’s important to ensure we are taking care of our backs while in an office setting. Here are some tips from professional sports chiropractors on how to lessen back pain while working in an office setting. 

Create An Ergonomic Workspace and Proper Chair

It is imperative that we have an appropriate ergonomic setup at work to develop a routine that can counteract the stressors we place on our bodies to mitigate some of the discomforts that can occur as a result. Reducing prolonged postures throughout the day will help make the workday more enjoyable and pain-free. Our article, Workspace Ergonomics, can help provide more details on setting up this space. 

Take Frequent Short Breaks

We encourage patients to take a break from sitting every 30-60 minutes. Taking a short walk, stretching, or having a self-myofascial release routine will help reduce muscle tension.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Standing desks have been on the rise and certainly help reduce back pain from prolonged sitting. However, it’s important to wear supportive shoes. Using a standing desk, but then standing in heels or uncomfortable shoes all day is counterproductive to the benefits of a standing desk. 

Practice Correct Posture

Having the correct posture is essential to back health. Check-in with yourself every 15 minutes to assess your posture. We recommend lifting your shoulder blades up, down, and back to realign your posture. Make sure you sit close to the edge of your chair and tuck one foot in front of the other, this will force your hips forward and keep you in better alignment. Any prolonged position can become problematic, so be sure to get up and move and change your position throughout the day. 

Treating pain you are already experiencing

If you are already experiencing back pain, here are our at-home remedies: 

  • Use hot packs: Hot packs can also help release tension and increase mobility
  • Strengthen your core: Strengthening your abdominal and back muscles can naturally improve your posture and reduce the risk of back pain. Check out our recommended core strengthening exercise
  • Stay active: If you spend the majority of your workday sitting, try to stay active in your free time. Exercise regularly throughout the week instead of exercising only on the weekends. A sedentary week followed by a strenuous workout can lead to injury or pain.
  • Sleep well: Sleep on a firm surface that provides proper support and use a pillow to align your head and shoulders. Sleep on your side or back instead of on your stomach. To release pressure from your spine, try sleeping on your side with your knees drawn to your chest.
  • Eat well: A healthy diet with regular exercise can help reduce excess body weight, which contributes to back pain. 

Lastly, make sure you keep your muscles loose. Neck and shoulder rolls can help relieve back tension at work. Here are some at-home or in-office stretches we recommend:

Shoulder squeeze: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Shift your weight slightly forward so you don't round your back. Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned:

  • Raise your arms to shoulder height, elbows bent, and palms forward
  • Move your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together
  • Hold for 10 seconds. Return to the starting position
  • Repeat 5 times

Cat-cow: The cat-cow stretch increases flexibility and mobility in your spine while stretching the surrounding muscles.

  • Start on all fours with your hands and knees hip-width apart. Make sure your hands align with your shoulders and your knees align with your hips
  • Inhale as you arch your back and drop your belly toward the floor, moving your head up to look toward the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds
  • Exhale as you round your back, pushing your spine up toward the ceiling while tucking your head down and drawing your belly button into your spine. Hold for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times in both directions

Bird dog: The bird dog exercise works the erector spinae, rectus abdominis, and glutes.

  • Start on all fours with your hands and knees hip-width apart. Make sure your hands align with your shoulders and your knees align with your hips
  • Engage your core and keep your neck and spine in a neutral position
  • Slowly extend your right arm in front of you and your left leg behind you at the same time. Keep your balance steady while maintaining a straight spine without rotating
  • Return to the starting position, then repeat with your left arm and right leg
  • Alternate between sides, completing 10 repetitions on each side

While these tips will help improve your spinal health and alleviate back pain, they should be coupled with a treatment plan and regular chiropractic visits. Book your appointment with the talented sports chiropractors at Team Elite today. 

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