5 Unexpected Ways to Alleviate Lower Back Pain in the Office
When lower back pain strikes, it can leave you helpless. You can’t get comfortable, and your body may feel like it’s falling apart. Oftentimes, lower back pain sufferers do not even know what’s causing their pain. But if you’re an office worker spending long hours sitting in a cheap office chair, there’s a simple explanation for your pain, and some steps you can take to find some relief.
- Find the right chair – Believe it or not, your cheap office chair can be the cause of your back pain. Does your chair have a lumbar support pillow to cushion your lower back? Does it adjust to allow for proper ergonomic comfort? If not, you might want to invest in a better chair for back pain. The best office chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. They are designed for people who spend long hours sitting, and have the appropriate ergonomic support, in the form of cushioning and adjustable components, to keep you as comfortable as possible.
- Adjust your chair – Just having a quality office chair does not mean it will automatically help you feel better. You need to do some of the work yourself. Whether your chair is brand new, or inherited from another employee, it’s important to make sure that you take the time to adjust the chair’s individual components to fit your body proportions. It is highly unlikely that you are the exact same size as the previous owner of the chair, or that the chair just so happens to have come out of the factory designed perfectly to fit you. No two people have identical body proportions, which is why ergonomic chairs are designed to be adjusted. Sitting in an inappropriately-adjusted chair can not only be uncomfortable, but it can cause additional harm.
- Take a break – Regardless how how comfortable or well-adjusted your office chair is, the best thing you can do to alleviate lower back pain is to take a break from your chair. Ideally, taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes to an hour will be a huge relief to your lower back. It may be hard to pull yourself away from your work, but this doesn’t have to be wasted time. Take a bathroom break. Get a drink of water. Set up your printer or copier in another room so that you have to walk to retrieve these printed materials. Even standing up while on a phone call or in a meeting will make a big difference.
- Stretch – There are also some stretches you can do to alleviate lower back pain. The most helpful stretches actually goes in the opposite direction of what may seem most helpful or comfortable. You will want to lean forward and touch your toes, but stretches that arch your back and stick out your bottom are most effective for loosening tight or strained lower back muscles. The cobra and cat yoga poses are very helpful to this end.
- Consider alternatives There may be some unconventional changes you can make to your workday that can actually help alleviate your lower back pain. Replacing your cheap office chair with a balance ball or a wobble stool will give you a stronger core, helping to prevent lower back pain. You can also consider a sit-stand desk, or a treadmill desk, which can break up the sitting in your workday, and provide some relief.