Two of the most common complaints you hear at work on any given day are probably for back and neck pain.
Sitting on the Job and Lower Back Pain
Sitting, whether you are driving for your work or just sitting in a chair, is often the greatest cause of back pain.
Whenever you are sitting, whether in a relaxed position, driving or at work make sure to support your lower back.
Push your bottom up against the back of the chair and then stack your shoulders right up over your hips with ears aligned over the shoulders so your chin is parallel to the floor. Place a small pillow or rolled up towel at the lumbar or lower back. Change your position every half hour to give your back a change of position.
Avoid leaning to one side when you are sitting and avoid overstuffed furniture, which doesn’t offer adequate support for your spine.
Perform this stretch several times throughout the day if you are having lower back pain. Slide forward in your chair to the edge of the seat. With your feet shoulder width apart inhale and then slowly roll the spine down from the top of the head exhaling until your head and arms are hanging down between your legs.
Take a breath in to hold the stretch and as you exhale roll the spine back up until you are sitting tall again with the vertebrae stacked over your hips. Initiate the movements by drawing your abdominals up and in deeply.
Tension and Pain in the Upper Back from Computers
When working at a computer pull your chair close to the Screen. Use a chair with short arm rests and adjustable height, back rests, and seats. The back rest spring should be adjusted so that the back rest moves with you. A seat that tilts forward is a particularly useful feature.
A swivel chair enables you to work without twisting your back and you can place machines and computer screens that you use often as close to you as possible to minimize the amount of twisting and turning you need to do.
When you lean forward at your desk make sure to bend at the hips instead of rounding your back keeping it in good alignment.
Below I have outlined an exercise to help relieve some of the upper back pain and tension you may be feeling.
Slide to the edge of your seat with your ankles directly under your feet, arms hanging at your sides, sitting up tall and lifted out of your hips. Take a breath as you reach your hands down and behind you opening the chest, feel the shoulder blades slide down. Then exhale to return your arms back to your sides. Repeat this for about 8 times every hour if needed throughout the day.
Talking on the Phone can be a Pain in the Neck
Holding the phone between your ear and shoulder can be one of many neck pain causes. Try using some of the new phone adapters.
Sometimes just sitting for a long period of time can cause severe neck pain and pain in upper back and shoulders. Practice straightening your back to an upright position and, or go for a walk.
Try this exercise for pain in the neck during the day. Sitting tall at the edge of your chair or standing lower your head letting your chin drop down, then roll your head so you are looking over one shoulder, roll it back down and then repeat to the other side. Perform this exercise 4 5 times on each side.
Don’t forget Exercise for your Back and Neck Pain
The key to alleviating some of this back and neck pain may be a supervised exercise program that addresses these common problems and aids in postural alignment.
Appropriate exercises, done on a regular basis, can provide strength and flexibility in the muscles that are needed to correct postural problems. My favorite, and probably the most effective way to address these length tension imbalances is with Pilates.
Pilates exercises can be performed on equipment using spring tension or on the mat using your own body weight and with balls and bands. Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the core muscles (abs and back) to decrease pain and tension in the body.