Though you may not realize it, sitting at a desk five days per week — eight hours per day, to be exact — can have significant effects on your back that can lead to muscle fatigue and injury. These effects can manifest into dull, achy pain or even sharp, stabbing chronic pain in your back. And with 100 million Americans working desk jobs today, you’re not alone.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help prevent back pain and injuries at work. These include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Excess weight can put extra stress on your back. Incorporating daily physical activity and consuming a healthy diet will help shed the extra pounds that could be exacerbating your pain. 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, combined with strength training exercises at least twice a week is a great start.
  • Pay attention to posture – Posture can play a huge role in back pain. To promote good posture, use a chair that allows you to rest both feet flat on the floor. If your feet can’t reach the floor, use a footstool or other support, if necessary. If your chair is not equipped with a lower back support, use a rolled towel, small pillow, or lower back support.  
  • Switch out your chair for a stability ball – Weak abdominal and back muscles can contribute to back pain. Switching out your chair for a stability ball forces you to sit up straight and use your core. Beginners should start off with 20 minute sessions and work your way up to a full day.
  • Take stretch breaks and find opportunities to stand – While at your computer, set an alarm to get up and stretch or walk around every hour. Take opportunities to walk whenever you can. Get up to speak with coworkers in person, rather than instant message, or take phone calls outside while on your afternoon walk. If you must sit for a prolonged period, at least try change your position occasionally.

Back pain can affect many elements of your life, if you let it. Reserve time in your next workday to examine the environment around you to change any factors that could be contributing to your chronic back pain.

If you have been experiencing chronic back pain, call the pain specialists at Cedar Rapids Pain Associates today at (319) 540-8251 to schedule an appointment.