Do you go home every night from the office with back and neck pain?
There’s nothing quite like having an aching spine. Ibuprofen barely takes the edge off. Even when you get into bed after a long day, you still feel no relief.
If you sit at a desk all day, that may be part of the cause. After a couple hours of sitting in front of your computer, you start to wiggle and squirm.
Your lower back throbs thanks to the terrible chair your boss refuses to replace. Replying to texts from your family all day causes your neck and shoulders to twinge.
How can you cure the pain? You can’t quit your job or throw out your phone.
Luckily, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that can potentially fix the provide relief.
Working at an office seems like an easy job on your body until you try it. For office workers with neck or back pain, try these helpful tips.
1. Get a Standing Desk
When you sit with good posture, you might notice that your body begins to feel tired. Letting yourself hunch over actually feels good, but that doesn’t mean you should do it!
To avoid posture fatigue, stand while you work as much as possible.
A convenient way to do this is to get a standing desk and the great news is there are standing desks for every budget.
There are adjustable trays that you can pull up when you want to stand made to fit most desks. When you’d like to sit for a little while, you can lower it back down to desk level.
2. Adjust Your Computer
Sometimes it isn’t possible to use a standing desk at work, but almost always doable to make sure that your computer is at the proper height.
Many people choose to do their work on a laptop instead of a desktop. These computers tend to be at eye-level for most people.
Laptops, on the other hand, are almost always lower than eye level even though it might not even feel that low for you. But, if you have to look down even the slightest bit, you could be creating unnecessary pain.
A great idea is to elevate your laptop with a platform or even a thick book. Instead of using the keyboard, get an external one that will sit on the desk. This will help your neck pain more than you would imagine.
3. Try Stretching
Staying loose will help you comfortably maintain good posture over time. It will also give you some pain relief if you’re sitting at work and can’t get up to walk around.
It’s a great idea to figure out a stretching routine that you can stick to. Some evening stretches before bed will loosen you up to have a comfortable night’s rest.
In the meantime, there are all sorts of stretches that you can do right at your desk.
Why not try a neck retraction stretch right now?
Sit up straight against your chair. Pull your chin in towards your spine, which will give you a double chin. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and then repeat two or three more times.
4. Get a Gadget
It can be tough to remember to sit up straight. That’s especially true if you’re new to this healthy habit.
Luckily, there are all sorts of new gadgets available that can remind you.
For $130 on Amazon, you can buy a Smart Wearable Posture Trainer. This small piece of technology sticks to your back. When you start to hunch, it will vibrate to remind you to straighten up.
There are low-fi gadgets you can try as well. A posture brace will help you train the specific muscles in your back and shoulders that allow you to sit up straight.
For lower back pain, you can get a lumbar support pillow. Put it between your back and the chair while you sit at your desk. At CSI we use a beachball inflated about 15% for PT patients and our staff. It works wonders to improve posture.
5. Use Your Phone Less
Our cell phones are causing so much spinal pain, there’s even a name for it. “Text neck” is caused by looking down at your phone too often throughout the day.
Telling someone not to look at their phone as much is a tall order. But, you can try to take practical steps to look at it less.
Set up your text messages to send to your computer. That way, you can respond without ever looking down at your phone. When you’re out and about, try to rely more on talk to text instead of hand typing.
6. See a Physical Therapist
If you’re having chronic back and neck pain, you should try to cure it with non-invasive treatment first. Seeing a therapist might be just what you need to get back in alignment and feeling better.
Conservative care can help if your pain is caused by sitting at a desk, an accident, or a combination. This treatment is great for everyone. Even kids can benefit.
You might also want to try this in collaboration with massage therapy or chiropractic care.
But, even if you have a fully comprehensive treatment plan, you should still follow the other tips. You’ll be feeling better faster if you make it a point to maintain good posture and stand frequently.
Office Workers Can Stand Up to Pain
These tips can help office workers or anyone else who uses a computer. Even if you aren’t sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, you can still take these ideas to heart. Good posture is good for everyone!