While there are a lot of career options out there, many of them require people to sit in a chair and work on a computer either all day or most of the day. Unfortunately, sitting in a chair all day and staring at a screen often causes new back pain or exacerbates existing back pain. Over time, this pain makes you constantly re-adjust as the discomfort builds and builds. At our spine center in New Jersey, this is one of the most common complaints we hear from patients. To alleviate some of that back pain, we suggest following these tips for practicing good spine health at work:
- Don’t hunch – many people are guilty of leaning forward to look at their computer screen, causing their shoulders to pull forward and their backs to be rounded. If your back or neck are straining rather than feeling at rest, you’re most likely going to start feeling some pain. Instead, keep your head up, so your head and neck are positioned directly above your shoulders.
- Invest in a good chair – if you are going to sit on something for eight hours a day, you better make sure it’s comfortable. Your office chair should promote sitting back rather than pushing you forward. That means your seat should provide lumbar support to prevent your lower back from rounding and should push your chest out so your shoulders are even with your ears.
- Set your chair up properly – even if you don’t have control over your office chair, you do have control over how you sit in your chair. The height should allow you to plant your feet on the ground shoulder-width apart and to put your arms on the desk without needing to shrug or raise your shoulders. You should lean back in your chair with your butt and your shoulders back rather than letting it push you forward. If you find yourself leaning, bring the chair closer to the desk.
- Keep the monitor at eye level – most monitors and laptops aren’t designed to promote back and neck health. Because they sit low, your head automatically rests at a downward angle and causes strain. Invest in raisers for your monitor and laptop that bring them about two to three inches above eye level. You’ll feel your chin raise and your back and neck straighten out.
- Give yourself a break – sitting all day can wear out your spine. Take a minute or two every hour or so to stand. You can walk around or stretch in place – whatever you prefer. Standing alleviates some of the pressure on your spinal discs, promotes better circulation, and takes some of the stress and tension away both physically and mentally.
The most important thing to remember is if you are experiencing back pain, you need to take action to reduce the pain rather than wishing it would go away. These five tips should put you on a path to being more comfortable with less pain at work. Have back pain that is radiating and intense? Now is the time to have a consultation at our spine center in New Jersey. Book an appointment today to begin your path to a pain-free life.