Whether working from home or being back in the office, back pain caused by sitting at our desks is a common complaint for a lot of workers. While most of us do not have a choice whether we work at our desks we do have options in learning how to ease our back pain when at the desk. Try these 5 tips for better posture and less back pain when working at your desk.
1. Stand for 1 minute every hour you are sitting.
Scientific research calls these microbreaks. Studies report that workers with back pain who took regular breaks from sitting throughout the day had no increase in back pain by the end of the day. This is in comparison to those who didn’t stand up regularly where on average their back pain worsened by on average 3 points out of a 10 point scale by the end of the day.
Imagine pulling your finger back as far as it goes and keeping it there. It is going to start to hurt after very little time. When we sit with poor posture, we are essentially doing the same thing to our back. This holding our back in poor posture can cause the discs and joints of the back to be overloaded. Taking a minute break every hour allows you to take pressure off your back and essentially “resetting” the back and the discs.
You have 2 simple options to implement this. First, just stand every hour and reach your arms up overhead. Second, with the BackAware Belt, in office mode it will send a message to your phone when you have been in poor posture for too long allowing you to get out of the position. We also have techniques available to take a break when sitting.
2. Start the day well. Be careful in the first hour of waking.
This is a definite issue for people working from home. It is very easy to wake up and be at our desks working within an hour of waking. This is an issue as at night our discs take on fluid which increases their size. This increased size of the disc increases the pressure in the disc making them more susceptible to bulges.
What to do about it: Especially if you have back pain, power walking in the morning or standing in the first hour can be great to reduce the fluid in the disc. With the BackAware Belt we have a 5-minute morning routine we recommend our clients to do that really helps them start the day right to keep back pain away.
3. Wake up the Glute and Hip Muscles
Sitting for 8 hours can inhibit or switch off the glute muscles and make the hip flexors tighter. If we can’t move through our hips, it causes us to move too much at our back which can lead to issues. Having weak core and glute muscles (a consequence of too much sitting) means the muscles are not strong enough to take the pressure off the spine. Our Belt rehab and Back Pilates programmes provide a 40-minute class that we recommend at least once per week really targets these muscles to help restore the balance and take pressure off the back.
4. Don’t finish 8 hours of sitting to go…sitting
I get it. After work a lot of us just want to collapse on the sofa but just like starting the day right is essential it is important at the end of the day to give your back a little break. Power Walking for 5 minutes after work is a great way to help your back. If you are on your sofa, try if at all possible to lie down rather than sit.
5. Keep good posture
The BackAware Belt gives you reminders to keep your back in a good position when you are slouching for too long. Having reminders to sit with good posture allows you to strengthen your muscles throughout the day and take pressure off the back. Other tips include setting up your desk so that the screen is at eye level. Sitting right into your chair.