Many Americans are now working office jobs that force them to be sedentary at a desk all day long. Poor sitting, or slouched posture, commonly seen with these sedentary office jobs can produce pain in the spine. Slouched sitting overstretches spinal ligaments and soft tissue, and weakens the muscles surrounding the spine. It also puts increased load on the discs within your spine and causes disc and facet degeneration in the spine over time.
The best way to avoid back pain and injuries due to sedentary office jobs is to take short breaks often to change positions or get up and move around. We know it can be challenging to find the time to get up and get away from your desk when you are busy, so we wanted to share 5 simple ways to prevent back pain and injury while sitting at your desk.
1) Use a lumbar roll while sitting: There are very few chairs that provide the adequate amount of lumbar support needed to maintain a neutral spine. Purchasing a lumbar roll, or simply rolling up a towel and placing it in the curve of your low back will set you in neutral posture and decreased load and stress on the spine.
2) Thoracic extension stretch: Placing your lumbar roll at low back, slowly arch upper body over your chair to create extension in your upper back. Be sure to extend only from your upper back and not just hinge at the lower portion of your spine. Perform 20x, 2 times per day or as needed.
3) Thoracic rotation stretch: Place your hand behind your head. Keeping your hips forward and feet on the ground, rotate upper body towards the right as far as you can go. Perform on opposite side. Perform 20x, 2 times per day or as needed.
4) Upper trapezius stretch: Tip right ear towards your right shoulder. Cross left arm to right hip and gently pull left wrist down with right arm. You should feel a nice stretch along the top of your right shoulder and neck. Switch sides. Perform 2x, holding 20-30 seconds each, 2x/day or as needed.
5) Levator Scapula stretch: In the same position listed above, gentle rotate your head down towards your armpit. You should feel a nice stretch in the center of your upper back. Switch sides. Perform 2x, holding 20-30 seconds each, 2x/day or as needed.
If your pain persists please do not wait to get it figured out, our physical therapists are here to address injuries and are happy to help you figure out a treatment plan that will empower you to live a healthier lifestyle. Visit any of our 14 locations for a free consultation to address any injury or pain that you are having and learn how physical therapy could be beneficial for you!