How To Prevent Back Pain at Work

For many office based workers who spend their day sat at a desk, back pain can become an overwhelming part of everyday life. With prolonged hours sitting at our PC’s, it is common to lean to one side when using the mouse or lean arms or elbows on your desk without even realising.

The human body is designed to lead an active lifestyle, with long periods of inactivity leading to an increase in muscular stress and tension of the spine, contributing to back pain sitting at a desk for long periods at the office. The spinal vertebrae are separated by a shock absorber, a disc which contains watery gel which can slowly leak out of the centre if we are sat in the same position for any length of time. This leaky gel causes a pressure on the spinal nerve in the area which contributes to excruciating nerve pains.

Although the static nature of office jobs means changing our lifestyle is borderline impossible, luckily there are factors within our control that allow us to know how to prevent back pain at work and subsequently manage any early signs of pain. These simple changes can include adjustments to your workstation, desk height, ergonomic chair, standing work station and seeking professional of an MSK Chiropractor in Worthing.

Enhancing your workspace

Every employer providing a work station should be aware of the health and safety guidelines involved, but ensuring your desk is setup to allow you to work safely and comfortably can make a huge difference when it comes prolonged hours of sitting at your desk that contributes to back pain. To set up your chair and desk height in the best way possible, follow these simple steps to enhance your workspace:

  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your eye line is parallel to the centre of your screen, requiring no ongoing tilting or looking up and down as you are working which may contribute to headaches and neck strain.
  • Ensure your back is being correctly supported by your chair by adjusting the backrest so that you are sitting up straight with the middle of your back placed against the backrest. If this is not possible, using a cushion or back support can help.
  • Tilt your seat forwards which reduces the pressure and strain to the lower back discs.
  • Sitting close to your desk with your elbows at a 90 degree angle will ensure you are positioned correctly and reduce any strain on your neck, shoulders and upper back.

Adjusting your posture

Most of us are working from home off the back of Covid-19 and the lack of correct desk heights or chairs can impact our work, contributing to us suffering from bad backs and poor posture. We’re all guilty of it; slumping, slouching at our desk or putting our legs up when it gets to that mid-afternoon crash. Being aware of your posture is one of the key ways of knowing how to prevent back pain at work, supporting your spine correctly and avoiding the risk of long term issues later in life. Having the wrong posture puts a lot of added stress and strain on your back as well as your other joints of neck, shoulders, elbows and wrist so making a change as early as you can will help ensure you are taking the best care of your body.

Get into the habit of sitting upright and as close to your desk as possible with your back straight and supported by the backrest, having your head straight and arms naturally by your side. Once your work setup is adjusted correctly, your hands should naturally rest on your desk and your legs should also sit at a 90 degree angle with your feet firmly on the floor.

Keep on moving!

Make a habit of moving from the desk every 1-2 hours. Gentle exercise or just walking to make a coffee can make the world of difference when it comes to back pain sitting at a desk. Whether you choose to walk or cycle during your morning commute, take a brisk walk on your lunch break or carry out some stretches midway through your shift, you will be more focused and productive – your body will thank you for it. Getting your blood flowing and muscles in action after sitting down for so long is not only a trick on how to prevent back pain at work, but can actually leave you feeling refreshed and more productive for the remaining day of work. We’re all human and taking a break during your busy day should never be forgotten, a little really does go a long way!

Seek some professional help

If you are finding that your back pain sitting at a desk is an ongoing, it is time to look to the experts and seek professional advice. MSK chiropractic treatment offers a whole host of benefits for those suffering with persistent back pain, headaches, disc pain or trapped nerve symptoms. Not only will it help your pain by improving your spinal joint mobility, improving your posture, releasing trapped nerves and restoring disc function, it can restore your overall joint mobility and improve energy levels. Following an initial consultation and medical examination, a diagnosis will be established to treat the underlying cause of your pain and regain optimum health and wellbeing. You will learn about how to keep your back and posture healthy, be educated on gentle stretching and undergo strengthening exercises to prevent a recurrence, strengthening your spine over time to get you feeling your healthy best.

For more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have or request an appointment with our MSK-chiropractor to kick-start the process. You have nothing to lose but your pain.