Back pain is a common ailment that affects eight out of ten adults in the US, according to the National Institutes of Health. While some people only experience occasional pain, others develop chronic back pain. If you’ve been experiencing ongoing back pain that doesn’t seem to be going away, it’s easy to think poor posture or the aging process is to blame. However, your work environment could be the true culprit. Fortunately, there are ways to ease this discomfort and reduce the occurrence of back pain.
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Causes of Back Pain at Your Desk
Back pain at work can start out as occasional twinges that eventually turn into more severe and widespread pain, especially in the shoulders and lower back. If you spend most of your workday sitting at a desk working on a computer, you’re at risk of developing back pain resulting from spinal misalignment. In most cases, it is because their workstations are not set up correctly. Typical problems are:
1. Sitting all day affects your body in ways that can lead to back pain, such as:
- Puts muscle strain on your lower back
- Weakens your core muscles, which puts additional strain on your back
- Causes poor circulation, or blood flow, to your back muscles and joints
- Causes strain in the shoulders from trying to maintain long-term proper posture
2. Improper seating leads to the following:
- Lack of lower back support
- Improper pelvic tilt, putting strain on lower back
- Sitting forward in seat with no back support
3. Lack of a keyboard tray leads to:
- Forced lifting of shoulders, causing upper back, shoulder and neck pain
4. Incorrect monitor height causes:
- Improper head position, causing upper back , shoulder and neck pain
Importance of Ergonomics
The term “ergonomics” has been used more and more in association with back pain in the workplace. It refers to the science of making work environments more comfortable in order to minimize the risk of back pain and other medical issues. The basic principle of ergonomics is to make sure that your work environment accommodates you physically, instead of you having to adjust your body to your workspace.
There are ergonomic desks, chairs and even keyboards available that have been designed to help you keep your body in the proper position. In most cases, these are worth the investment. However, if you don’t currently have these or your employer hasn’t provided them for you, there are ways for you to improve your workplace ergonomics and prevent back pain by making some slight changes to how you work.
Adjust Your Chair
When sitting in your chair at work, both of your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees should be even with your hips. Adjust the height of your chair until you’re able to sit in this position comfortably. Use the lumbar support feature on your chair, if you have it. If not, give your lower back more support with a cushion. Your chair should also have an adjustable seat base that lets you sit up straight. If possible, take off or lower the armrests as well so that your arms form 90-degree angles.
Lower Back Treatment Options
If you have back pain or lower back pain due to poor ergonomics at your desk, there are treatment options that can help. For example:
Get the right medical treatment to stop the pain and get your body corrected so future problems don't complicate your life!
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition