Since more people have started to work from home. It’s unsurprising that we are seeing an increase of lower back problems. If you have started to work from home you might have started to notice aches and pains from having a different work setting.
What is the correct sitting position?
We have made a few pointers on how to have the correct posture in this new environment:
The goal of sitting correctly is to minimise the stress and strain on muscles and joints. Also, to allow good circulation and a relaxed posture that allows you to breathe normally.
To help facilitate this there are certain things you should aim to do.
- Aim to keep your feet flat on the floor
- Have your chair at a height that allows your thighs to be parallel to the floor
- In addition, let the arms rest flat with wrists straight (not cocked at an angle)
- Ensure the top of the screen is at eye-level to keep the head in a balanced position
- Crucially, make sure the base of the spine is properly supported.
These are some of the most important pointers. But the list is not exhaustive. A good DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessment will cover everything you need to know.
Increasingly, experts are realising that the psychological and social aspects also play a role. You may well have experienced back pain when you were stressed out at work. Or when the kids started playing up.
Whatever the cause, one thing is clear. Stopping all forms of movement is not the answer. In fact, the complete opposite is true. In most cases, exercise and movement are a great way to counteract the problem.
So, let’s look at some particular exercises that can help.
5 exercises for back pain that you can do at home
The key is to get the back moving and operating again. Providing you don’t have any serious structural damage there are some great little exercises to get you started. Try these for starters.
Pelvic tilts – Lie on your back. Knees in a bent position. Pull your belly button in towards your spine. Tilt the pelvis forward and hold for 5 seconds. This can be repeated a few times in a row to help mobilize the lower spine.
Knee rolls – Lying on your back. Bending the knees so the knees are off the ground. Keeping as much of the back on the floor as possible. Rotate the knees toward the floor on one side. Then gently swing the knees over to the other side. And repeat this movement a handful of times.
Press up back extensions – Lying face down. Simply use your forearms to push off the ground. The idea is to lift the head and shoulders up and create an extension of the spine.
Bird dog – This is a bodyweight floor exercise that helps to strengthen the lower back and firm the abdominals. Starting on your hands and knees, keeping the back aligned, extend one leg and the opposite arm. Then do the same for the other leg and arm. And repeat several times.
Supermans – This is similar to the bird dog exercise. However, on this occasion, you lay face down and flat on the floor. This requires more of a lifting motion and is good for strengthening the lower back.
So what can you do?
The first step is to be more aware of how you habitually sit. The next step is to take the time to change your work environment. Insist on having a DSE assessment if you haven’t already had one.
But don’t just do it as a one-off thing. Set up prompts around your desk to ensure you are regularly sitting in the correct position.
It may feel a little unnatural at first. But as you start to form a new habit, your body will start to thank you for it. And you should feel a lot fresher at the end of the day.
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