Many office workers are plagued by lower back pain. It is so common that it’s hard to find a person who can honestly say that they never experienced back pain in their life.
However only few realise how debilitating back pain can get if ignored.
Lower back pain left untreated can often snowball into a serious and long-term problem, and sometimes even result in surgery.
This certainly can have an impact on your ability to work, carry out your fitness routine or simply enjoy active leisure time with your family.
For many people not being able to exercise may also have serious consequences on general health.
Do you have an office job? Are you also at risk of suffering from lower back pain? Or are you already noticing some of these dangerous symptoms?
If you are like me, you probably often get really busy with work. While you are focusing on getting it all done you tend to forget about your own posture and end up slouching on the edge of the chair… curving your spine into a “C” shape.
Think about it for a moment. Have you found yourself in really awkward positions in front of your computer at times of stress and high work volumes?
Understanding what you can do to prevent and fix back pain is essential to your health and well-being.
You see, back pain can make it hard for you to do the things that you love and prevent you from living your life to the fullest.
It can also make it hard for you to get a good night’s sleep leaving you feeling tired and lethargic the following day.
It can make you less social with your friends and less productive at work.
However, in most cases just a few simple adjustments to the way you do things in your day to day life can save you from this debilitating problem.
Here are some ways to beat back pain in your lower back, so you can start enjoying life to the full again and regain the lost vigour.
1. Use the right sitting posture
This reminds me of those old etiquette lessons where you are being told to sit up straight. They may have been on to something. When you slouch, it creates damage that will lead to pain and discomfort.
So sit up straight with your back slightly arched and your shoulders over your hips. Make sure that you pull your shoulders back slightly and your neck elongated.
One of the best ways to ensure you sit correctly is using a chair with lumbar support – a curved backrest that helps to prop your lower back and keep your spine straight.
If your chair doesn’t have an in-built curved back rest you can get a lumbar cushion that you can attach to your chair. The same applies to your car seat. Talk to one of the physiotherapists at BodyFit Physiotherapy Howick or Pakuranga if you’re not sure what this is and how to use it. We have some of these at the clinic.
2. Get up and take a quick walk
Take a quick walk every twenty minutes to half an hour. You can walk to an office printer, take a bathroom break, or head to the water cooler for a quick drink.
If your boss frowns on movement within the office, just stand up and stretch. Touch your toes, reach to the ceiling, and move your legs a bit. You need to give your body a break, so that you can effectively keep going through your day, and enjoy a night free from lower back pain.
Remember, you are putting excessive stress on your spine when you stay sitting non-stop for hours without a break. Regularly having a quick break from sitting even for one minute can help you avoid that undue stress and potential damage.
3. Set up your desk properly
Constantly turning to one side or the other and putting your body in an awkward position to type or answer the phone is likely to cause back pain. Make sure that you are able to set your desk up in a way that you are working straight on.
Close your eyes for a second and visualise your work-station. Do you often have to twist your body unevenly one way or another to reach for the phone or printer?
You can possibly move your chair from side to side to put yourself in front of the phone or the computer. If you have an “L” shaped desk, set up two stations and turn your chair towards the area that you are working instead of twisting your body to the side. It will help your back stay in a good posture and protect your back.
That way you probably won’t have to worry about that nasty back pain when you get home.
If you have an advantage of having a standing desk, you will not only be able to solve the lower back pains, but you will protect your heart as well. People who are able to move around have less chance of cardiovascular diseases and, as you know, your heart is crucial to your overall health.
There is a real possibility that a new way of working will eventually exist, because those people who are standing and moving around are more productive as well.