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It is estimated that two-thirds of Americans suffer from back pain. What many people don’t know is that the majority of cases are work-related. Poor posture and repetitive movements at your desk can cause serious problems that will only get worse if left untreated. Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods will cause you to slouch and round your shoulders. This can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, and back to prevent this from happening, it’s essential to take breaks when needed, change positions often, and correct your posture during these breaks.
Sitting in unnatural positions all day long has been shown to contribute to the tightening of muscles in your neck and lower back, weakening them over time. Luckily, there are many ways to improve your posture and reduce back pain that you can try today. If you find yourself feeling stiff or sore after sitting at work all day, it might be time to make some changes to the way you work. In this guide for office workers, we’ll provide you with eight ways to improve your posture and reduce back pain that will leave you feeling like you have a new body.
8 Ways To Improve Your Posture and Reduce Back Pain
1. Adjust Your Workspace
The first thing you should do when improving your posture in order to reduce back pain is to adjust your workspace. Whether you work from home, in an office, or running a business with staff to care for, having your workspace set up correctly is essential for avoiding back problems. How you work impacts your posture, and having the proper hardware and furniture is vital for making sure you sit in a position that won’t be detrimental to your health. Consider investing in some essentials for your office, such as a height adjustable desk, a stand for your laptop to raise the screen, and an ergonomic chair. There are many benefits to having the right desk and having your screen at the right height, but your chair is crucial for your back as it will encourage you to sit a certain way that will reduce the likelihood of pain. If you’d like to learn more, check out Branch Furniture’s article, which is full of expert advice on the benefits of ergonomic chairs. This will allow you to search through different desks and chairs, to find the perfect situation for your back.
2. Take Walks
Once you have the right set up in your office, the next part of improving your posture and back pain is to ensure you get up and start moving throughout the day. When you’re busy at work, it can be tempting to power through the day without leaving your desk except for essentials, which usually leads to you stooping over your desk, leaning in closer to your screen, or sitting in poor positions to relieve the numbness in your legs. However, by taking a walk during the day, you will not only improve your posture and reduce back pain, but you will also improve the blood flow to your brain, which can increase productivity and lead to you finishing tricky projects faster.
When planning your walks, you should consider trying to walk for thirty minutes a day by splitting it into two segments. Try taking a fifteen-minute walk mid-morning and mid-afternoon to break up your day and get your blood flowing again. You’ll also find you not only improve your posture and productivity, but you will also be improving your overall health.
3. Try The Chin Tuck
When you find yourself slouching over your desk, the chin tuck is an excellent way to straighten out your spin and get you sitting in a better position. Throughout the day, you should try to practice the chin tuck in order to reduce stiffness and improve your posture, and you can do this by pulling your chin in towards your neck. It may seem odd at first, but you’ll find you are slouching less often as you get used to correcting your posture with this simple tool.
4. Shoulder Rolls At Your Desk
Another exercise you can perform at your desk or standing in the shoulder roll. This exercise will help to keep the muscles in your shoulders loose, which will help you to sit with the correct posture. You can do shoulder rolls following the chin tuck exercise, or you could do it on its own; however, while you can do this while sitting, for the best results, you should do them while standing. Start with your feet together and lift your chest, then lift your shoulders up, back, and down before repeating ten times. Once you’ve finished, repeat the exercise by lifting your shoulders up, forwards, and down for another ten repetitions.
5. Incorporate The Upper Trapezius Stretch
The third stretch you should incorporate into your daily routine is the upper trapezius stretch. This exercise will loosen the trapezius muscles, which help your neck support your head without becoming stiff while improving your posture, and is performed while sitting. To start, you should sit in a comfortable chair with your back straight, hold the side of the chair with your left hand, and with your right hand, you should lift your arm over your head to hold the left side. Then you need to pull your head towards your right shoulder gently until you feel the muscles stretch. Hold for a few seconds and swap sides.
6. Try The Seated Spine Rotation
If you’re already suffering from back pain, there’s an exercise that will help you relieve the ache in your back. The seated spin rotation helps to improve the flexibility of your spine, which improves posture and reduces the pain you may be having. This exercise is fantastic for your desk while seated and can’t help you remember to sit correctly in your chair in order to improve your posture. To begin this stretch, you should be seated with your back straight, feet on the ground, and knees together, then turn your shoulders as far to one side as possible without moving your feet or knees. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on the other side; however, you should be careful not to stretch further than is comfortable for your body as this can cause adverse effects.
7. Don’t Cross Your Legs
The worst habit many office workers have is crossing their legs at their desks; this action twists your spin and is bad for your posture. While it can be hard to break this habit, and many find this position comfortable, it’s best for your back pain to avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Remind yourself throughout the day to uncross your legs, and you will find that you slowly break the habit and, as a result, experience less pain in your back. Additionally, sitting with your feet on the floor rather than having your legs crossed is better for your circulation.
8. Hold Your Cell Phone Higher
When one breaks, many office workers sink into comfortable break room couches and chairs to read texts, scroll social media, or play games on their cell phones. However, most office workers slouch and hunch over their AI smartphones when they do this, which can be detrimental to the health of your back. Instead, try sitting back and holding your cell phone higher, many positions that are good for your posture may seem uncomfortable at first, but this is typically due to not being used to sitting correctly. Once you’re used to sitting back, you’ll find that your posture improves and your back pain reduces, but you’ll also notice that your eyes feel less strained as you’re no longer leaning down towards your phone and instead of bringing it closer to your eye line.