After a long day at the office, does your back feel like you’ve been doing heavy lifting all day? Sitting all day at your computer can be worse for your back than you think. Even if it starts out as a small twinge, back pain can elevate quickly.
“The longer you have a back problem, the more damage it will create, the more it will resist getting better and the more time it will take to heal. So, the best course is to prevent back problems from happening to begin with.” said Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions.
Here are a few tips that he offers to people who spend much of their time at a desk:
Watch how you sit. “Most people are putting pressure on their backs, necks and shoulders because they don’t work in an ergonomically correct position,” Butler said. Here’s how to achieve the optimal position: Sit with your body no more than an arm’s length from the computer and mouse, and don’t lean your head and neck forward. You should be able to rest your hand comfortably on the mouse with the elbow at the same height as the mouse pad. The monitor should be 2-3 inches above eye level.
Choose the right chair. Ideally, you want a chair with lumbar support. “If there is no lumbar support, you can place a pillow behind your lower spine,” Butler said. Chairs that can tilt back also take pressure off the base of the spine and help prevent back pain. But if back pain has already started, Butler suggested placing ice between the lumbar support and the back for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation.
Don’t cradle your phone. Have you ever pinned your phone between your shoulder and your ear so you can type while you talk? Buter offered a one-word piece of advice: Don’t. “The intense strain from holding the phone that way for more than a couple of minutes can have a lasting effect on your posture and add to your back and neck pain,” he said.
For more tips, visit drbradfordbutler.com.