Tips to help Avoid Low Back Pain at your Desk
5 Things to AVOID while SITTING to reduce LOW BACK PAIN
80% of the Western population will experience DISABLING low back pain during their lives. Sitting plays a large part of this amazing statistic. Other factors are involved in developing lower back pain, such a a lack of exercise, injuries and poor posture.
Most have heard how sitting is referred to as the new smoking. When we sit for prolonged periods of time, we compress our lower back, our abdominal cavity and our breathing is restricted. Research is indicating that even our metabolism, including our blood sugar levels are negatively affected with excessive sitting.
A 2012 study (1) shows evidence that prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, even when exercise is undertaken.
“Low” risk mortality – sitting under 4 hours per day
“Medium” risk mortality – sitting 4 to 8 hours per day
“High” risk mortality – sitting 8 to 11 hours per day
“Very High” risk mortality – sitting over 11 hours per day
We are designed to move and. It is common for us to get fidgety when we sit, to start to lose concentration and focus if we are working. This is our body telling us to move, to get our joints moving, our muscles firing. This in turn, will stimulate our brain, not to mention our circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Prolonged sitting has also been shown to have an impact on blood glucose levels. In one study they found ‘Plasma insulin and glucose levels were higher on the day of uninterrupted sitting, in comparison to the days with light or moderate intensity breaks.’ (2)
Go through our 5 Point Check to help your health and longevity:
- Stack it Up – Neutral Spine
When we sit or stand it is important to maintain a neutral spine. Aim to have shoulders sitting over hips and avoid any leaning to one side or the other. Your spine should be straight, so you head is sitting over your pelvis. Maintain your lower back curve. This is vital to assist in reducing load to the structures in your lower back, including discs, facet joints, muscles and ligaments. Use a good office chair with a low back support or if you are home and using a dining chair, place a thin cushion behind your low back.
2. Knee Position
What is ideal with leg position is to have knees slightly lower than your hips or at your hip level. If your feet do not touch the ground, then use a phonebook or a foot rest under your feet.
3. Elbows at right angles
If you are working then check that your elbows are sitting at right angles and this is the position where you can write or type.
4. Feet flat on ground
Keep feet flat on the ground, avoiding crossing them or sitting on one foot or both.
5.Break it up
Pop a timer on to get up every 30 minutes – get up and walk around. If you are on the phone and not on the computer at the same time, then get up and walk and talk. In the middle of the day, factor in a walk, an exercise class or a game of tennis. This will help you get through your day with greater ease, reduce stress and improve your health outcome. It is a great idea to break up the day and get energised for the rest of the work day.
You can download the sitting time calculator from the Ergotron website.
For an ergonomic workplace assessment again, go the Ergotron website.
If you have implemented the above and you find your lower back is still and issue, then it important to get your spinal alignment and function.
Call us Errol Street Chiropractic on 9329 1118 for an appointment to get your spine checked.
(1)van der Ploed et el,Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(6):494-500. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2174
(2) T.Saunders Sitting for just a couple hours has measurable (and negative) health impact PLOS Blog