Been Sitting All Day? How to Find Relief for Your Back Pain

With most people working 40-hour weeks and generally sitting for most of this time, back pain is even more common than in previous years. These days over 610 million people globally are affected by low back pain. Not only does back pain make it hard to move, but it also affects your quality of life and mental well-being.

Back pain from sitting too long is one of the most common complaints seen by working adults. Very few people have an ergonomic workstation that is designed to combat back pain and encourage good posture. If you’re like most people and simply use whatever desk and chair are available, it’s important that you know how to combat back pain.

So keep reading to find out what you can do to decrease back pain from sitting and how you can improve your sitting positions.

Fix Your Posture

When you sit in one position for a long time, your body tends to lock up. This is what makes it so painful to move or stand up after sitting for a while. The stiffness and pain are your body’s way of telling you that it needs to recover from the unnatural position you placed it in.

If you continue to lock your body in place with bad posture, you’ll start slouching more and more. This is because you’re trying to get away from the uncomfortableness and stiffness, but it only results in worse posture.

Poor posture can lead to joint problems and improper circulation along the way. The best way to prevent poor posture is to detect it early on. It’s easier to fix before you start slouching, but it’s not impossible.

If you’ve had a neck or back injury, then the way you sit is even more important. Simply sitting with the right posture can reduce the stress you put on your neck and back, meaning you’ll have less pain to deal with.

While sitting, you should remember to:

  • Sit up straight
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed
  • Keep your knees level with your hips
  • Sit back so that your chair supports your spine
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Keep your ears aligned over your shoulders
  • Keep your computer screen at eye level

Implementing these changes while sitting down will help you improve your posture. Before you know it, these things will be second nature.

Take Breaks

Simply switching position every 15 minutes can greatly relieve your lower back pain. Whether you’re refilling your water or just quickly stretching out, you’ll notice your back feels less tense and stiff.

A good way to start getting into this habit is to set an alarm every 15 to 30 minutes. After a few days, you’ll naturally start getting up or stretching without an alarm.

If you’re able to take short breaks so often, consider taking a five-minute break every hour to simply allow your back time to unlock. You can use this time to make any needed phone calls or coffee runs, so you won’t be wasting your working time.

You can also consider switching to an adjustable standing desk. This allows you to switch your desk between a normal sitting desk and a standing desk. This way, you can keep working while you stand up for a few minutes.

Stretching and Exercise

No matter how ergonomic your workstation is, you need to schedule time to be active. Increasing your activity levels and stretching more often will strengthen the muscles in your back, which in turn will promote better posture. When you stretch and strengthen to try and relieve your back pain, you have to make sure you’re doing the right movements.

Core muscles are also important as your core supports your body while sitting. When you sit for a long time, your core stops supporting your body. By strengthening your core muscles, you’ll put your body under less strain and improve your posture.

When adding stretching and exercise to your routine, consider what you normally do. Don’t jump in and start a powerlifting routine if you’ve been mostly stationary before that. You won’t keep up with the habit, and chances are you’ll hurt yourself.

Some recommended stretches to help your lower back include:

Knee to chest stretches. Simply lie on your back with your lower back on the floor. Lift your legs up and hug your knees to your chest for 10 to 15 seconds before you release.

For a reclined spinal twist stretch, you’ll need to lie down on your back with your arms extended into a “T” position. Your knees should be bent with your feet on the floor.

From your starting position, you need to let both knees fall to one side while you gaze toward the other side. Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to your starting position. Then simply repeat the stretch on the other side.

Cat-cow is a great stretch to quickly help your back unlock. Start on your hands and knees in a table-top position before you arch your back as you breathe in with your head tilted up. Reverse this position as you exhale, letting your back cave in.

Combat Back Pain From Sitting Too Long

Back pain from sitting too long can be debilitating and can cause undue stress in your life. This is why it’s important to do exercises for back pain and learn how to stop slouching. If you improve your sitting positions and regularly exercise your back, you’ll see improvement in no time.

If your back isn’t improving, you should contact us. At New York City Spine Surgery, we focus on treating you as a whole person and not just another chart.

At New York City Spine Surgery, our standard for excellent care means treating you as a whole person, and not just another spine disorder on a chart.

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