When a new patient arrives at the office seeking help and a cure for low back pain, one of the first questions we ask is what they do for a living – what does your daily routine look like? To treat pain, we must know the root and the cause. Over time, it is completely normal for our repetitive routine and posture to take a huge toll on our body. For instance, sitting in an office chair working on a computer all day is going to affect your body differently than if you were constantly on your feet. Sitting is a static posture increases the stress on your back, shoulders, and legs. This in turn adds a heavy amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Typically, these muscles are taking on too much work which causes the back pain you may be experiencing.
At Chesapeake Family Wellness Center, we provide back and shoulder pain relief for numerous patients who come from a wide variety of desk jobs. For our patients and non-patients, here are a list of tips to help reduce low back pain from your office chair:
Invest in a quality ergonomic office chair
If adjusted correctly to your body proportions, an ergonomic chair can help maximize back support, reduce aggravation to the spine, and help maintain good posture. To properly adjust your chair, you want to pay close attention to these key points:
- Your arm rests should be set with your elbows at a 90-degree angle with a slight lift in your shoulders.
- The height of your chair should allow a slight amount of room under your hamstrings right above the rear of your knee. If there is not enough room, simply add a small footrest. If there is too much room (typical in taller individuals), raising the desk and the height of the chair is recommended.
- For low back support your bottom should be pressed against the back of your chair. Your lower back should arch just slightly to avoid slumping forward.
- Your eye gaze should be at a very natural height. Looking up or down at your computer screen increases the strain on your neck. Adjust the height of either your desk, chair, or computer to keep your resting eye level neutral.
Get up and move around
We recommend taking the time to get up from your desk to stretch or walk around about every 30 minutes. Keep your joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons loose throughout your work day! Increasing your restroom or beverage breaks is an easy way to get up and move around.
Experiment working without your typical desk chair
Alternatives to your traditional desk and chair layout include exercise balls, Swedish kneeling chairs, and standing desks. We often recommend switching it up. Try replacing your desk chair with an exercise ball for 20 minutes each hour. Or adjust your desk to be standing for half of your work day. You do not have to choose just one. It is very beneficial to keep your body guessing to avoid static posture.
The biggest thing we can recommend for patients with lower back pain is to do their best to break the bad habits of poor posture and prolonged time sitting at their desk. If you are currently experiencing physical pain and hold a desk job, this very well could be the correlation! Call or schedule a visit online with us as soon as possible. Low back pain is treatable, and we would love to help!