5 Ways To Stop Back Pain At Work
Work is hectic and often very demanding these days. We have taken the assumption that you work in an office and so the advice here is with that in mind.
1. Take Plenty Of Regular Breaks
Your body loves movement. It keeps your mind sharp and makes sure that you don’t stiffen up.
Sitting in one position and not moving whether with good or bad posture, is damaging for the spine. Sitting is one of the times that you have the most pressure on your spine and if you do this for long periods it will detrimentally effects your joints, muscles, ligaments and discs. Over time this leads to weakness and pain. By keeping up and about you will counteract these effects.
Regularly change positions, stand up and have a stretch. You should take a break from sitting every 30-45 minutes. If you often get engrossed in your work and find hours have just past the best way to change this habit is to set an alarm to remind you when to get up and have a rest.
A few pointers of things you can do:
- If you need to get a file don’t just twist round in your seat (it is bad for your back anyway). Stand up, turn round and get it that way. This gives your spine a micro break.
- There may be times that you can work standing up. For example, do you need to sit down whilst making that phone call or reading a report? We know that it will depend on your work set up; standing over a fellow co-worker isn’t the most comfortable for them either!
- Maybe you can stand at a raised surface (e.g. a filing cabinet) to make a few notes?
- Look around your office environment and think about your daily tasks. There may be plenty more opportunities to stand up and work.
When you can stand and have a stretch, bring your arms above your head and reach for the ceiling. This is a great stretch for your back and just limbers your body up a bit.
2. Take The Stairs Not The lift
This is a bit of advice that’s given for other situations too, not just back care.
It helps you to burn a few extra calories and also just gets your body moving. It’s like another break for your back during the workday. It will also help you to reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
In addition to helping your back, using the stairs instead of the lift will keep your leg muscles toned and strong too!
3. Do You Have Perfect Posture?
It is so easy to get sucked into your work. You start reading and without realising you have tipped forwards with your upper body, your head has dropped forwards followed by resting your head onto your hands. Or maybe your take the opposite approach and lean backwards slumped into your seat. These are bad postures for you and put strain on your back, neck, shoulders and even your head, which can cause headaches.
Think of sitting up tall. Imagine lengthening the front of your body so that you are increasing the space between your pelvis and lower ribcage.
Think of lifting your head up towards the ceiling. Make sure your chin stays level with the ground though. It is easy to think of lifting up but then tipping your head backwards which compresses the back of your neck.
As we mentioned in the last point, keep moving too. We’re not asking you to sit rigidly in one position.
4. Nourish Your Body
Let food and drink be your medicine!
Your body needs the building blocks it gets from your meals and drinks to be healthy. You can’t expect your body to perform at its best with the wrong fuel. If you put petrol in a diesel car you won’t be cruising for long and it’s the same for you!
Avoid food that is high in salt and refined sugars. Make sure you get your daily quota of protein, omega oils (oily fish, avocado) and fresh vegetables. You will feel better for it.
Good food puts you in a better mood, gives you more energy and helps you to stay focused throughout the day.
A surprising 67% of people don’t eat at least 5 fruit or vegetable portions a day. If you don’t at the very lease make a concerted effort to try new vegetables and add at least one more portion a day. Eating healthier foods reduces inflammation in your body and could make all the difference to your pain levels. Check out the article about how foods can affect your pain levels by nutritionist Jenny Tschiesche.
Drink plenty of water so that you stay hydrated!
Hydration isn’t just important for sport. You need water to help flush out toxins and maintain all your body’s functions optimally. In relation to the spine, your discs should be full of water too. So if you are dehydrated so will they be as well.
5. Are You Out To Lunch?
We know that you’re not, just making sure we still have your attention 🙂 !
What we mean by this is to get out and about at lunchtime. Go out to get your delicious nutritious lunch, or just take a stroll for 5 or more minutes. A good walk helps to clear your head and gets the body moving. A bit of fresh air can help to revitalise you, perk you up a bit and help you through the rest of your day. Movement helps the brain problem solve so if you have something that you can’t seem to sort out take a walk you may well come up with the solution.