It’s Friday afternoon and you’ve been sitting at your desk for five days straight. How does your back feel? In the best of circumstances, it’s probably pretty stiff. In the worst of circumstances, you’ve missed work because the flaring pain is preventing you from functioning.
The good news is…it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some healthy ways to reduce, or even stop, back pain caused from too much sitting.
Take short breaks throughout the day to move
It’s a good habit to get up and move about every thirty minutes. Taking a brisk walk around the office, getting some coffee, or making a purposeful trip to see a co-worker instead of calling them, are all great ways to incorporate more movement into your workday.
Set reminders for yourself
If you’re the kind of person who gets caught up in emails, phone calls, forgets to eat lunch, and goes for hours without moving, try setting reminders on your phone or computer. There are also a number of available apps that can help with this.
Optimize your workspace
Try to make your workstation as friendly to your body as possible by following these guidelines:
- Computer monitor should be just below eye level and head facing forward, reducing excessive neck positions.
- Arms should be in line with the body, with elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Your chair should supply adequate back support, and have a gentle curve around the lumbar spine. If not, you can use a towel or blanket to mimic the same effect.
- Computer monitor should be at arm’s length, and where possible, use hands-free headsets when talking on the phone.
- Keep thighs parallel to the floor. Do not cross or sit on legs.
- Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees, with feet firmly on the ground, not tucked under the chair.
Taking stretch breaks every hour or so is helpful. Stretching can loosen tight muscles and can give you an energy boost.
For some Office Desk Stretches and additional information on workplace safety, click here.
Use a stability ball
A stability ball is another great idea to reduce back pain. Sitting on a balance ball helps to strengthen the core and improve posture, which can all help decrease pain in the lower back.
Try Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy is a safe, effective and cost-efficient way to provide relief from back pain. There are multiple treatments available, such as spinal manipulation, manual therapy, and physical exercise. Physical therapists work with patients to help restore or maintain their mobility, range of motion, strength and function, with the goal of improving their overall quality of life.
Ask your Physical Therapist about AposTherapy®*
AposTherapy® is another alternative to reducing back pain – specifically low back pain. This non-invasive device can be worn at work or at home for an hour during the day, helping to rework your movement patterns so you’re not moving in pain every day.
Ask your Physical Therapist at Professional Physical Therapy if AposTherapy® is the right choice for you. Getting started requires a comprehensive evaluation that takes approximately 60-90 minutes. Your physical therapist can personally calibrate your AposTherapy® footworn device to address the cause of your pain.
The footworn device is specially designed to shift the pressure away from the area of your pain and reeducate your muscles to adopt a healthier walking pattern, even when not wearing the device. It can be worn at home or at work without any disruption to your regular schedule. You just put them on and they do the work for you.
*AposTherapy is currently available in our Newton, MA clinic, with plans to expand services in additional clinics in Massachusetts. Read more about AposTherapy here.