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Is your work station the source of your back pain?

Many people who suffer from chronic back pain could find that by making subtle changes during the work day that their symptoms are greatly reduced. We spend a large portion of our lives at work yet often forget that what we do during these hours impacts on our lives just as greatly as our downtime.

 It is estimated that 15 million days at work are lost in the UK due to back pain. The usual causes of this tend to be strained muscles, torn ligaments, wear and tear, bad posture and stress. Whilst some of these often can’t be avoided; the vast majority can. Most people will experience back pain at some point and usually it isn’t serious. You could find however, that on this topic prevention is a better course of action than cure. Whilst you could take over-the-counter painkillers the best approach could be to simply tweak your habits to avoid any strains in the first place.

When you stay sedentary for long periods of time your back muscles often feel the strain. The best way to relieve this is simply to try to stay active. No, we know you can’t run laps around the office and still get all your work done but you can move around once in a while to stretch your legs. It is estimated that you should punctuate every half an hour of sitting down with a one to two minute break. It may sound ridiculous to give yourself a break from sitting but it is necessary.

It’s often unavoidable that at work you will have to sit at a work station for longer than you’d like. Therefore you should ensure that the chair itself isn’t going to cause you discomfort. The law states that all work chairs must be stable. The height has to be adjustable and the back rest must be adjustable in height and tilt. You should aim to sit as close to your work desk as possible. Stretch your elbows out to a 90 degree angle with the desk, if your arms do not sit flush with the top of the table then you need to adjust the chair up or down. You should aim to have a cushion. Your bottom should be pressed right to the very back of the chair with the cushion behind your back. This will prevent you from slumping down or slouching forward which puts extra strain on your lower back- particularly your lumbar muscles.

It’s important to check the height of your computer screen. Your eyes should aim to hit the centre of the screen. If it’s higher or lower then you should aim to bring it up or down in order to minimise the strain on your upper spine.

Don’t forget to incorporate these practices out with the workplace. Your sitting posture can harm your back no matter where you are. Whether you are sitting on the couch watching television, playing free no deposit bingo or at the dinner table; don’t let bad posture ruin your day.