5 Ways to Manage Back Pain in the Office

You spend a large part of your life in your office, whether it’s in your home or at your employer’s workplace. Much of that time is likely spent sitting in a chair looking at your monitor and typing on your keyboard. Spending long amounts of time in this static position places you at increased risk for back pain if you don’t use ergonomics to ease the stress on your muscles and joints. 

Did you know that you’re more at risk of back pain by working in an office setting than someone who has a job with heavy physical demands? One of the most common causes of back pain is incorrect posture while you’re sitting down. 

If your shoulders and back are hunched over while you’re at the computer, you’re putting undue pressure on the joints in your vertebrae, along with the discs in your spinal cord and muscles in your back. Another leading cause of recurring back pain if you’re in an office environment is staying in one position for long periods of time. 

Dr. Daniel Fox and the team at The Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine PA offer the following five ways to manage back pain if you work in an office setting. 

Use a chair that has lumbar support  

It’s important to support your spine while you’re sitting. If you hunch forward while sitting, you’re placing tremendous stress on your spine, and that stress can show up as pain signals. 

Invest in an ergonomic office chair. This type of chair curves slightly forward at the level of your navel. You can add further lumbar support with a lumbar pillow if you don’t naturally sit all the way back in the chair. 

Properly position your legs

Why is something as simple as crossing your legs not a good idea when at the computer?  In that position, your body isn’t as stable and you’re uneven on the chair, although you may not realize it. You’ll unconsciously start bending over in order to balance yourself. 

The proper ergonomic leg position while at the computer is keeping your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be at a right angle. 

Position your arms properly, too 

Your ergonomic chair should have a lift enabling you to move it up or down. Adjust the chair so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle when touching the keyboard. This keeps your shoulders in the proper position so they’re not hunched over, and you also give more support for your upper back. 

Make sure your monitor is where it needs to be

Keep your monitor at arms’ length and a little below eye level. If the monitor is too high, you tend to lean forward, but when it’s just under your eye level, you lean slightly back, which reduces strain on your spine. 

New research indicates that sitting at a 135-degree angle is better for your back than sitting straight upright at 90 degrees, which you’ve probably been taught to do. Try positioning your monitor a bit lower and leaning back slightly in your chair. This position should feel better. 

Take breaks from the sitting position 

It’s critical to take breaks frequently when you work most of the day on the computer. Take two-minute micro-breaks by stretching, turning around to take a phone call, and resting your arms if you’ve been typing for quite a while. 

Every 30-60 minutes, stand up, get a cup of coffee, and walk down the hall. This allows you to rest the muscles you’ve been using and feel renewed. 

Call our Toms River, New Jersey, office to make an appointment for expert care in preventing or managing back pain. You can also use our convenient online booking tool, or send a message to Dr. Fox and the team here on our website for all of your orthopedic needs. 

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