How To Avoid Back Pain At Your Desk Job

Desk Job Hazards

Sitting at the desk for extended periods can end up causing lower back pain and aches. At the same time, it may worsen an existing back pain problem. The main reason behind this is, while sitting at the desk you have to keep a static posture that increases stress in the back. Studies have shown that sitting static at a desk for longer periods can add pressure to the spinal disc and back muscles.

“The biggest reason is that there is more pressure upon the spine. Research studies have been done and perhaps counter intuitively, there is more pressure placed upon your discs when sitting as opposed to standing. This is thought to be down to muscular support. When standing, your muscles contract to support the spine. When we sit, we relax those same muscles, forcing your joints to take on more physical stress,” says Dr. Jason Hare.

When you are sitting at the desk, you naturally tend to slouch over or down in the chair. This posture strains the spinal discs as they are smashed between vertebral structures and over stretches spinal ligaments to a point where it ends with a severe back pain.

“Some of the reasons people working at the desk get back pain are the following: shortened and dysfunctional psoas muscle (The body’s main hip flexor) because of the sitting position, decreased nutritional fluid in the disc space because of the lack of movement. Stretch the psoas muscle by doing lunges every hour (20 sec., 3 times each leg). If you don’t want to be doing lunges at your office, then you can do pelvic tilts in your chair 20 times. Oscillating between sticking your belly out and pushing the small of your back into the chair,” Dr. Julie Page explains.

How to Resolve Back Pain

Back pain caused by sitting at desk for prolonged periods disturbs your everyday life causing pain and impeding on productivity. Listed below are various methods to resolve back pain.

Chairs with Back Support:

  • One of the major reasons for back pain is not supporting your lower back properly. Chairs with lumbar support must be used in order to have the proper arched sitting posture
  • If your chair is devoid of support, try putting a pillow between the chair and your lower back
  • A footrest further supports the lower back and avoids any stress

Moving and Stretching Your Hip Flexors After Intervals

Dr. Patrick Labelle, a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician said, “Divide your day into 30 minute chunks when stuck at your desk. Work for 25 minutes, then get up and move for 5 minutes. Take a bathroom break, walk to the printer or water cooler, or just stand up and stretch.”

Prolonged sitting tightens your hip flexors which further pull your pelvis forward. This forward pull of pelvis exerts tension on lower back, which aches. Getting up for extending your hips flexors after regular intervals saves you from back pain problems even if you have to sit for the whole day.