Long periods of sitting, repetitive twisting, and lifting are some of the most prevalent causes of back pain. After only 15 to 20 minutes of sitting at a desk or computer station, your back muscles will begin to fatigue. As muscles become overloaded in this posture, they tighten to protect themselves. This defensive response eventually leads to back pain, muscle tension, joint strain, and disc compression.
Take a break every 15 minutes
Stand up and go for a short walk every 15-20 minutes. Gentle exercise brings oxygen into the muscles while flushing away irritating toxins. This interrupts the self-sustaining pain-tension cycle and helps prevent muscle fatigue.
If you work at a desk, adjusting it to fit your height is essential for forming good postural habits and eliminating discomfort. Workstations are very individual, so it’s all about finding the right setup to suit your body and type of work.
A professional ergonomic consultation is ideal, but if you don’t have access to an ergonomist, here are some guidelines;
Use a height adjustable chair with lumbar support and armrests. Sit right back in the seat with your back touching the backrest. Your hips and knees should be bent at an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees, the computer keyboard at elbow height and the mouse close enough that you don’t have to reach for it. You might need a footrest to get these angles right while keeping your feet flat.
If you make multiple phone calls each day, invest in a good telephone headset to prevent neck strains
You can ask your osteopath about any postural concerns you may have and get personalised advice for improvements.
Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet just wider than your hips.
Stretch your arms down on each side of your chair while rotating your arms outwards (palms forward and spreading your fingers out as much as you can).
Tuck your chin in slightly and gently slide your head back. Breath into your diaphragm then slowly exhale by blowing the breath out through your lips.
This can be repeated 2-3 times every 30 minutes or so.