Whether your workplace is set up with ergonomics in mind or not, if you’ve been working from home during quarantine, or simply find your back hurting throughout your day—wherever that may be—it’s time to consider healthy ways to stand up to back pain!
It’s been estimated that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives and it’s the third most common reason for visits to the doctor’s. So here are some good tips and reminders to save your spine.
“Sitting is the new smoking” has become quite the cliché as too much time spent sitting in the wrong positions can lead to bodily damage. But really too much standing, crouching, or walking can be hard on our backs too.
Spines need movement and variety. Proper posture does involve sitting or standing up straight, but all too many people are sitting up too rigidly. If you’re arching your back by tensing and tightening up the muscles, that may actually end up shortening them. This can arch the back, load the discs, and jam the edges of the vertebrae against each other. Ow!
Moving around through the day matters. If your efforts to sit up straight are too rigid, and you find yourself quickly slumping again, learning to lengthen your back may help.
You don’t have to get an expensive chair to have a better back. Simply make a conscious effort to stretch. Pause what you’re doing (even if that means setting timers to remind yourself) and stand up. Or try some “stretch sitting”.
Many people choose to work at a standing desk. This offers the option of adjusting your work surface height throughout your day. Sit for one moment, stand the next.
Better posture and getting past back pain goes beyond your work day and also involves how you relax.
Make sure you’re upright, yet at ease on the sofa. Not too tense and not slumped. If you feel like you need more support, add pillows or more cushions. And remember to stand up and move around during TV commercials or between book chapters.
Whatever your preferred sleep position is, try to lay so that your spine is as neutral or straight as possible. Stretching a bit when you first lie down with the focus on lengthening your back can help.
If you struggle with back pain, you’re certainly not alone. Hopefully implementing some of these simple back care ideas will have you standing up to back pain and feeling great!