Work Wellness

The Secret Tricks to Reducing Back Pain at Work in a Chair

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Mar 5, 2021
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Today, office work has changed. It might have just seemed like a phase during the start of 2020, but there’s no denying it now. 

Massive offices filled with cubicles are a thing of the past, meaning people are now going to be working from home

Yippee, right? Sure, you can do your monotonous spreadsheets in your PJs if you want, but you’ve got some unique issues that you now have to tackle. Building a home office, for example, can be a massive chore. 

That’s not what we’re talking about, though. Instead, we’re talking about a problem that you already have, but that’s going to get worse with you working at home. 

I’m talking about that lower back pain sitting at desk caused. If you work an office job, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You might have been able to ignore it up to now, but that’s just not an option anymore, sorry! These are challenging times, so you’re going to have to make some changes to stop yourself from destroying your back before you’re forty. 

Lower back pain

Three Steps to Reduce Back Pain from Sitting All Day

If you want to start reducing and preventing back pain at work in a chair, there are three changes that you need to make. I’ve broken these up into before you start working, during your work, and once you’re done for the day. 

This way, you can have a structured routine rather than a jumbled mess of tips with no real way to apply them. 

You don’t need to religiously follow every tip I point out every day, but five minutes of stretching in the morning are more than worth not having back hurts when sitting in chair. 

Stretch in the Mornings

Stretch in the mornings

Stretching your back out in the mornings is one of the most important things you can do for your back pain, especially if you’re working from home. 

I work from home, and I have days when I just move from the bed to the desk: no shower, breakfast, or anything. I might make a cup of coffee, but that’s it. 

Your body isn’t awake when you do this, and your muscles are still stuck in a sleep state. Doing some stretches helps to activate those muscles and decrease the strain you put on them while you’re sitting at your desk. Then, you can boost your productivity at work.

You don’t need to be a yoga fan to do these stretches, either. Well, to do most of them, at least. 

You’ve got a few different options to choose from, and we cover them all in that link, so do yourself a favor and study up. 

The Best Sitting Posture for Back Pain

Sitting posture

Once you’ve done your stretches and you’re mid workflow, I’ve got two different tips for you to follow. 

The first is the single most important one I’m covering, so make sure you take what I’m saying on board: your sitting posture is the most important thing you can change for back pain. 

When you’re sitting down, your spine is being put at an unnatural bend. There’s no way around this, but we can reduce the damage. 

First and foremost, I’m going to recommend you get your hands on an ergonomic chair for back pain support. If you work professionally from a desk, there’s no excuse not to have one. Trust me when I say it was one of the best investments I ever made. 

These ergonomic chairs are going to help keep you sitting up straight, meaning you don’t have to manually pay attention to that yourself. 

There are some aspects of your posture that you need to take charge of, though. 

First, make sure both your feet are placed firmly flat against the ground and that you’re sitting at a roughly 90-degree angle. Then, you need to keep the top of your monitor at eye level, keep your arms bent in an L-shape, and relax your shoulders. 

This is going to take some getting used to, trust me. Once you do get the muscle memory down, though, back pain from sitting all day is going to be a thing of the past. 

The other thing you should be doing while you’re working is scheduling a sit-stand session, taking regular five-minute breaks to stand up and move around. This is great if you work with any kind of Pomodoro timer. 

It doesn’t even have to be more than once every hour, but some time aside to get up and stretch your legs. Go for a cigarette, if that’s your thing, or make another cup of coffee. 

Stretch Out After Work, Rinse, and Repeat

Stretch out after work

Once you’re done with your desk for the day, repeat some of the stretches that you did in the morning. The logic here is the same; your muscles have been ideal, so you need to get them active. 

I know that the last thing you want to do after a long day of work is exercise. It is for me, at least, but doing these stretches have a range of benefits beyond helping with back pain at work in a chair. 

It’s going to help boost your mood, but more importantly, it’s a massive sleep aid. I used to struggle with my sleep a lot, and I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that do, too. Staring at a screen all day destroys your brain’s ability to release certain sleep-inducing chemicals, primarily because of the blue light that LED screens emit. It can help you have a good night rest for the next day.

Doing some nighttime stretches doesn’t eliminate this altogether, but it helps massively. So you’re essentially getting a two for one deal here. 

Consistency is Key

Consistency

Reducing back pain at work in a chair is a constant uphill battle. It’s not a one and done operation. If you actually want to see results, it’s going to require consistency. 

You can miss a day here and there, sure, but don’t let yourself drop the routine, especially once you get it started. 

Even if the back pain in a chair isn’t too bad now, you don’t want it getting to a point where you can’t stand for longer than an hour. That’s not hyperbole, either. 

Pros and Cons of Doing Morning Stretches

Pros and Cons of Doing Morning Stretches

icon
  • icon checkYour back is going to thank you for it.
  • icon checkYou’re going to sleep better.
  • icon checkYou’re going to feel better in yourself.
icon
  • icon timesIt takes a little bit of time to get into a rhythm.

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