Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Millions of Americans work at a desk or behind a computer screen, and while it may not seem like the most physical job when compared to something like construction or working in a lumber mill, being relegated to an office chair for 8-10 hours a day can be extremely hard on your spine. You’ll want to exercise and maintain a healthy weight through a nutritious diet when you’re not on the clock, but there are plenty of things you can do when you are stuck at the office to help foster a healthy spine. In today’s blog, we share some tips for keeping your spine healthy at the office.
Caring For Your Back At The Office
Being in the same position for an extended period will slowly take its toll on your spine, so you want to be mindful of a few things when you’re at the office. Here’s how to protect your back when you’re on the clock.
- Correct Posture – If you’re going to be in one position for a long period of time, you’ll want to ensure that your spine has a healthy alignment. If you are slouched in your chair or hunched forward, your neck or your lower back will have to handle additional strain, which will only expedite degenerative changes at these locations. Sit upright with your head above your shoulders and your arms flat on your desk. Make corrections if you notice that you’re shifting out of alignment.
- Stand And Move – You can work to relieve the static pressure on your spine by standing up and moving for a couple of minutes every 30-45 minutes. You can invest in a sit-to-stand workstation if you’re feeling bold, or you can simply stand up and stretch out your back for a few minutes once or twice an hour. This simple action will change how stress is placed on your spine and can give certain muscle groups some much needed rest from the strain of supporting your spine in a static seated position. Break up extended sitting sessions by standing and stretching.
- Supportive Workstation – You also want to ensure that your workstation is conducive to a healthy spine. For starters, make sure that your office chair is comfortable and supportive. If your seat cushion is thin and the seat back really isn’t providing your back with assistive support, you’ll be more likely to shift out of a healthy posture. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure that your computer monitor is at head height when seated so that you’re not craning your neck to view your screen. Adjust your chair height so that your desk and monitor are keeping your arms and head in the right position, because this will make it easier to keep your spine in alignment.
- Incorporate More Movement – Standing is great to help break up extended seated periods, but movement is even better, so find little ways to incorporate more movement in your workday, especially if your job is rather sedentary. Walk around during your breaks, take that phone call while standing up or use the stairs instead of the elevator when entering and leaving the building. All of these little moments of movement will add up and help to develop the muscles and tissues that support your spine, and this movement can help to relieve tension caused by being in one position for an extended period.
- Hydrate – Finally, always be sure to have a water bottle on your desk so that you can stay hydrated throughout the day. When you’re hydrated, blood circulates more easily throughout your body, which helps to ensure that structures in your spine get the oxygenated blood they need to thrive. While caffeinated beverages like coffee or soda may help you stay awake, they can serve to dehydrate your body, so don’t live on those beverages alone. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and it will be easier for your spine to get through another day at the office.
If you can do all of the above, and you reach out to a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi if you begin to develop new or worsening back pain, we’re confident that you’ll be able to successfully prevent and treat a range of spinal issues. For more information, or for answers to questions you have about back problems, give Dr. Sinicropi and his team a call today at (651) 430-3800.