How to Reduce Back Pain from Sitting Too Long?
Spread the word
An indefinite work-from-home reality has become the norm for many people worldwide. What started as a two-week lockdown became two months and it looks like there is no stopping the pandemic from ravaging the world.
The problem is that most of the workforce is not prepared for the physical effects of the work-from-home lifestyle. Back pain from sitting too long is one of the leading causes of ergonomic ailments and poor circulation problems.
Other issues like lower back pain from sitting too long can be associated with muscle power and movement, plus joint mobility. It can even affect breathing, so it is imperative to take care of your back health while working.
This article discusses some ways to get relief from back pain and highlights some products that can add ergonomics to the office environment. Without further ado, let us begin this piece! Let’s learn how to fix back pain from sitting!
Beyond 90-Degree Angles and Ergonomic Seating
Most of us think that the ideal ergonomic seating arrangement is to have our feet, hips, and knees at a 90-degree angle. Let's be honest: depending on your living situation, most of us are playing a version of musical chairs by going from the kitchen table to the dining room, followed by an afternoon sprawl on the bed and then a stint in the living room chair.
It's no wonder working from home can sometimes be a pain in the back, especially considering these abnormal demands. Joint misalignment and muscle weakness are the perfect storms created by sitting for long periods.
What happens is that your hip flexors begin to relax and weaken, then the muscle at the top of the thigh and hip that control the lumbar spine takes the strain. That, in turn, puts your back under immense and constant pressure leading to various other issues.
The back weakening causes the hamstring muscles to compensate and extend, weakening the gluteal muscle that stabilizes the pelvis and back. Sitting for long periods is a recipe for disaster, no matter how you look at it.
Preventing Back Pain from Sitting Too Long
It would be best if you considered a few tweaks to your postures instead of worrying about all the ways that you are doing it wrong. The reality is you will have days where you have a lot more work than usual or forget to get up and move around.
Below we have listed some easy changes that you can perform to avoid getting back pain from sitting too long:
Slouching and Hunching vs Posture and Holding Erect
It is natural for the spine to curve and bend over when we are at work, even though we are told not to hunch because it is bad posture. What is not good or natural for us is to hold that position for an extended period. The same goes for sitting at the dining room table or computer desk and thinking you must keep everything upright and your shoulders back.
Again, putting too much tension for an extended time causes the lower back and neck muscles to work more to keep everything in line.
It is recommended to get up and move around at least every 30 minutes. That gets the blood flowing to all extremities and allows the spine to lengthen. A good stretch to perform is going to the doorway and doing a shoulder stretch. Place both your hands on either side of the door frame and walk forward. That stretches your shoulder blades and helps to bring blood circulation to your lumbar region.
If you want to stretch your lower back, you can bend and fold your knees slowly to perform a gentle hamstring stretch. Then do something good for you that helps relieve stress; that is what individuals need to be doing while working remotely anyway.
If you are still fiddling around with a touchpad, it's time to get a separate lap desk, mouse, and keyboard. Bringing the office equipment to you and not vice versa helps you sit upright and not hunch over the laptop. A word of advice is don't be tempted to purchase a keyboard with gel wrist support.
These gel inserts can cut off and compress blood flow to the fingers, eventually leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Voice Text on Computer
This is a good way to avoid back pain from sitting too long. By using voice-activated text and even document creation, you could be saving yourself a lot of wrist strain in the future. Windows 10 can be trained to recognize your voice, and Google speech-to-text uses Google to transcribe and capture an audio file. Even though it can save you time and spare you some carpal tunnel problems, transcriptions may not always be 100% accurate.
Hold Your Phone at Eye Level for Texting
You may have heard about ensuring that your computer or laptop screen is at eye level, but what about your tablet or mobile device. While texting and watching, make a point to hold your phone up at eye level. That ensures that your neck muscles aren't being put in an awkward position and aren't under unnecessary strain. It may be time to put down the device for a break if you find it challenging to hold the device at eye level for a particular length of time.
Standing Desk, Dual Monitor Stand, and Articulating Arm
If you got the office setup and space to accommodate it, investing in a standing desk is one of the best things you can do for ergonomics. Companies like Autonomous manufacture standing desks that are an excellent addition to any remote office.
You can adjust the height of the above standing desk at the press of a button, and it can even support up to two monitors on its extensive work surface. It makes a great alternative to sitting all day, and it is proven to help alleviate back pain.
Having dual monitors also eases the frustrations of moving between screens, leaving your arm in an awkward position. It is certainly worth checking out a standing desk from Autonomous if your back hurts from sitting.
Another great thing you can do is check out some tips for a standing desk that you can add to your work routine and eliminate your back pain for good.
Ergonomic Office Chairs
Try this furniture to avoid back pain from sitting too long. Investing in an office chair for long hours is the first thing you should do if you are experiencing back pain from sitting for extended periods. Chairs like the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro+ are the epitome of ergonomic excellence and are made from earth-friendly materials.
Autonomous offers an entire range of unique chairs; all you need to do is head over to its website to find them. An ergonomic office chair is crucial if you need lumbar and spinal support during long days at work.
Seating arrangements, such as the ErgoChair Core and ErgoChair Pro, are excellent for people who want to get into ergonomics. These chairs are cost-effective and intuitively designed, meaning that anyone can get the hang of their adjustment features.
Autonomous chairs are the preferred ergonomic equipment used by big tech firms in Silicon Valley. Some of the most prominent companies that use these chairs include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
With some of the biggest companies in the world using the above equipment, you should ask yourself why you are not doing the same thing. It may be time to order your first ergonomic chair from Autonomous and enjoy the benefits of all-day comfort.
Try Not to Slouch
What is a good piece of advice your parents gave that you wish you listened to? If your answer is to sit up straight, you are in the category of most of us.
When you get older prolonged sitting ends up causing us a host of ergonomic problems that lead to extreme pain and suffering. The mechanics of slouching put pressure on the spinal discs and increase muscle stiffness.
Abnormal forces in the lumbar joints and discs can be caused by stress on the spine's ligaments. You have a greater chance of slouching the longer you spend in a seated position, which adds to the hips' stiffness.
It's best to keep your back straight for proper sitting posture instead of curving your spine into a "C" shape while seated.
One of the best positions to maintain is to have your upper legs and hip flexors at a 90-degree angle to your body and keep your spine straight up. That is challenging for extended periods but using proper posture and investing in an ergonomic chair can help tremendously.
Watch the Clock
Do you know what is more important than your posture? It is the amount of time you spend sitting at a desk!
Staying in the same position for long periods is not optimal, even though you may feel comfortable in your chair. Varying your postures by occasionally moving around or standing for a couple of minutes each hour is essential. A good idea is to set your alarm to one hour if you have trouble remembering to move at work.
Yoga Stretching and Sitting
Exercise is definitely a good solution for back pain from sitting too long. You don't have to be a fan of yoga to leverage some of its extraordinary benefits. If you are working on the sofa or bed and can get into the butterfly position, you can relieve vertebral discs, lengthen the spine, and lift weight naturally off the body. This exercise has the additional benefits of relieving sciatic pain plus stretching the knees, groin, and inner thighs.
You can also purchase equipment to add to your ergonomic workspace, such as a posture corrector chair. These chairs are designed to force your spine in the correct position and restore its natural curvature, thus, it can prevent prolonged sitting back pain.
Exercise is the least considered option to help relieve back pain, but it is one of the most effective. You can get your health back and strengthen your lumbar system by starting a daily workout routine.
Just 30 minutes each day is the perfect way to start taking care of your health and well-being. Remember that even though an office chair with a footrest may be comfortable, it doesn't mean that you must sit in it all day.
If you are someone who sits all day, performing high-intensity exercise before or after work can be hugely beneficial for your circulation as well as joint mobility.
See an Orthopedic Surgeon
If you can't find relief from an ice pack or counter anti-inflammatories, it may be time to see an orthopedic surgeon. It's good to note that you should not let it go this far, and this is usually the case for people who do not look after their back health for many years.
Lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy and lumbar sympathetic block are non-surgical procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons. There are also more complex surgical procedures of the spine, including revision, spinal reconstructive, spinal deformity, spinal stenosis, and degenerated disk treatment.
If you have ongoing pain that concerns you, it is recommended to see a doctor before it gets to the point of surgery. That may be the case if you have a worsened sciatica or a pre-existing back issue that has increased since working remotely. It doesn't hurt to see what's going on or get some diagnostic work done if you are experiencing any of the above issues.
With a combination of treatments (and medication if needed) and a few lifestyle changes, back pain can be resolved before turning into a more severe condition.
If you practice proper sitting posture and invest in a quality ergonomic chair, you will be one step ahead when it comes to back pain. With the information in this guide, you can look after the back pain hindering your work performance.
Don't you think it's time to start looking after yourself so that you can lead a more happy and healthier lifestyle? Check out the range of Autonomous ergonomic equipment to help alleviate back pain and get the comfort plus satisfaction you deserve.
We build office products to help you work smarter.
You May Also Like