Working from home might have been a blessing in disguise for many, but it has its own setbacks. Or sitbacks, if you will. Whether you’re still at the office or you’re enjoying your home-based work nook, you still need to be mindful of your back health.
Knowing that about 80% of US adults experience some form of back pain, with less than 15% visiting a chiropractor to get therapy, you understand that too many people ignore back pain until it’s too late. It’s better to act preventatively and add smart habits into your sedentary life to curb pain to begin with. Alternatively, you can minimize back pain and treat it with various natural means and help yourself heal! Here’s what you can do!
Get in the zone the right way
Just like working out correctly improves your health and performance, sitting correctly can prevent back pain and long-term issues with your spine. It’s all about keeping your posture good and stable for the duration of your work!
- Your arms (your wrists included) should be parallel to the floor.
- Keep your head in line with your torso, or slightly bent forward.
- Use an ergonomic chair to support your back and to help you keep your straight position.
- Make sure your chair allows your pelvis to be parallel to the floor.
- Your knees can be positioned slightly lower than your hips, which allows your flexors not to tense up too much.
Check in with yourself to make sure you’re mindful of your posture and make any corrections you need while you work.
Introduce active breaks
Active breaks are a brilliant, yet simple way to reduce stress in your workday, help your back stay healthy and strong, and prevent chronic back pain. If you spend at least six to eight hours sitting down (and many of us spend so many hours sitting down even after work!), make sure to schedule 10-minute breaks after every hour or so.
Do some light stretching for your hips, legs, and your arms. It will get your blood flowing and help you focus once you go back to work. Add some bodyweight movements like planks, squats, and jumping jacks, or you can jump rope to really wake your body up. A little can really go a long way during those breaks, so get moving!
Stretches and exercises to target your back
There’s no way around it: to keep your back healthy, you need to put your back into it! Health often requires plenty of work, and in this case, that means regular exercise that strengthens your back, improves your posture, and increases your mobility.
- Try yoga or Pilates for targeted spine-friendly movements that improve flexibility in your hips and back, as well as your joint mobility.
- Do some core-strengthening work to help put less pressure on your lower back when performing certain movements.
- Try to spare your back with high-impact workouts like running on pavement. Go for low-impact training varieties that will help you increase strength and mobility without placing to much stress on your joints.
Reduce inflammation and help your spine
If you’re already dealing with back pain and you need to sit for hours on end in order to be productive, then it’s time to get some reinforcements in the shape of glucosamine and MSM, both of which are excellent in protecting your connective tissue, cartilage and boosting joint mobility.
Inflammation is widely associated with pain in various shapes and forms, and it can be linked to back pain, too. Caused by an injury or an illness like arthritis, inflammation in your back can lead to chronic pain, which means you both need to find adequate treatment for the cause and treat the inflammation to reduce the pain itself.
Manage your weight
So far, we’ve all agreed that spending too much time sitting down is not good for your joints and your overall health, your spine in particular. However, if you add the pressure of more pounds than your frame can handle, then you’re actually increasing the risk of developing back health problems.
To reduce that risk, start by assessing whether or not you need to shed some weight and how you can maintain a healthy weight for the long haul. Weight management depends on your entire lifestyle, from exercising regularly to eating nutritious food, as well as getting enough sleep. In functional medicine, it’s all about striking the right balance that takes care of your health in its entirety!
As hectic as work and life can get, it’s no excuse to abandon the most vital aspects of your health, the wellbeing of your spine included. Listen to your body and its subtle signals that you might be dealing with a potential chronic issue caused by your sedentary life. Embrace these tips and make an appointment with us for further guidance, and we can help you get your health in order in no time.