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Tips to Prevent Office-Related Back Pain

Tips to Prevent Office-Related Back Pain

13Oct

Office-related back pain is a common problem seen here in Ballsbridge Physiotherapy. This problem can range from mild stiffness and soreness at the end of a long working week to more severe symptoms that can involve time off work. More and more people coming to our Dublin 4 clinic report working longer hours in the last few years, and many people are finding these new duties stressful. This can mean less down time, less relaxation and less time for recreational exercise. All these factors can contribute to more people experiencing back pain at work. There are, however, many things you can do to help prevent and deal with office-related back pain. Check out our tips below: 

Posture:

Sitting in the correct posture can really help minimise the stress and strain on the muscles, joints and ligaments of your back. Here are some tips on sitting correctly:

  • When sitting, it is important to have your feet flat on the ground, about hip distance apart.
  • Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees and you should be able to sit right into the back of the chair.
  • A good chair will have some support in the lower part of the chair to support your lower back.
  • If you feel your shoulders are rolling forward try to gently draw them back towards the centre of your back.
  • If you are working at a computer keep the keyboard and mouse close to you.
  • Screen height is really important, and incorrect screen height can be a factor in neck pain.
  • As a general rule the top line of text on the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.

If you are unsure about your sitting posture at work Ballsbridge Physiotherapy can carry out a work place assessment of your posture.

Regular Breaks:

Keeping the same posture for a long period of time can cause muscles to fatigue. This fatigue appears to be a factor in office-related back pain. Moving around regularly will minimise the effects of this fatigue. Many apps will alert you at a specified interval that it’s time to move. Even a short walk for 1 minute or doing some gentle stretches will relieve stress and strain on the body. Try walking to a colleague’s desk rather than sending an email or calling.

Avoid Prolonged Laptop Use:

When you are using a laptop without a separate mouse key board and stand it is almost impossible to keep correct posture. Avoid using a laptop as your main computer, unless you have a separate mouse and keyboard.

Vary Your Tasks:

One thing we often advise our patients to do, to try relieve the pressure on your joints, is to change your work tasks as regularly as possible. If you have some computer work to do and some tasks that involve more moving, try to alternate the tasks throughout the day to ease the pressure on your back.

Exercise:

Regular exercise has many benefits. It causes the release of endorphins or so called ‘happy hormones’. This means regular exercise can aid relaxation from a busy stressful job. Many forms of exercise have also been shown to be helpful for preventing and treating back pain. If you have an acute flare up of back pain your physiotherapist can also advise you on some specific exercises to help you.

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