Back Pain affects most people at some point of time; especially for those who work in front of computer for more than 8 hours.
Sitting for longer hours is directly proportional to increase in back pain, isn’t it?
No matter how well you position your chair, it is necessary to get up every 30-60 minutes and take a stroll around.
The back ache can be reduced or eradicated by choosing a chair carefully, maintaining better posture, proper seating habits, taking mini breaks, restricting time spent playing computer games and by maintaining appropiate distance between you and the screen.
If your neck strains after thinking about the pain, then these easy back-relieving tips will cut down on your gaming time delivering, massage level results.
This article goes through some simple practical ways to counter the back pain while using computer keeping your body anchored to the back of your office chair.
1. Choose Your Throne Correctly
We aren’t Kings (or Queens)!
The closest we can get to sitting on a throne is our office chair, and isn’t it necessary to choose it wisely?
This is perhaps the most important reason for back ache we face.
Sitting on a desk chair for eight hours a day can initiate the trouble if the back posture is unconventional.
If you’re going to buy a new chair, consider few factors mentioned here before buying a chair:
Ergonomic Design– A chair with ergonomic design supports your back all day long. The curve at the back is necessary since it keeps our spinal cord in its natural position. Moving forward occasionally helps your back muscles to relax promoting blood circulation.
Do check the comfort of the chair before you buy it.
High back– A chair is qualified for sitting if the back is high enough to support your shoulders when seated.
Make sure to sit with your back in contact with the chair and keep reclining to relax your back muscles.
Lumbar Support– Our back is divided into upper and lower back. The lower back bares the weight of entire upper body when seating.
A lumbar support gives relief to the lower back and fills the gap formed between the chair and the lower region. Lumbar cushions are easily available that increase your seating comfort.
Arm Rests– Arm rest supports your hands while typing, as it isn’t comfortable to hang your hands in air when seating. Arm rest comes in handy when reclining in your free time.
Rebounding Seat Pan– Since chair involves long term seating, a foam filled seat pan is vital part of the chair.
According to my opinion, a seat pan must align with the bottom of the users without poking the tailbone. A seat pan that deflates after some months may start giving problems like Coccyx Pain.
Pneumatic Adjustments– Nowadays every chair has a pneumatic adjustment that includes height, armrest and lumber adjustment. A chair should have handy lever to perform these adjustments. And if these adjustments come in a single lever then, the user doesn’t have to fiddle with multiple levers.
2. Maintain Distance between the Screen and Eyesight
Sitting and working in front of computer involves staring at the screen for more than 7 hours.
Focusing on the screen for long periods causes fatigue. This adds strain to your optic nerve due to the continuous bright light emitted by the screen.
The eye muscles start working specifically when the distance between your eyes and any object is less than 6 meters.
Users may get symptoms like blurred vision, headaches and temporary inability to focus on distant objects.
It is recommended that the user must sit 2-3 feet away from the screen to avoid the unnecessary stress on eye muscles.
Laptop users should use a separate keyboard as it increases the distance between the screen and eyes. The eyes cannot withstand the glare from the screen continuously for 8 hours.
You must tilt the screen slightly to avoid reflections or glare. Putting the screen either at eye level or slightly lower releases the pressure from the eye muscles.
Further care can be taken by reducing the contrast and brightness of the screen. If the user is feeling the symptoms of headache and eye strains, then an eye check up is something he should opt for.
An optician is the best person to guide the user by suggesting do’s and don’ts while seating in front of the computer.
3. Mini Breaks from Sitting is your Best Friend
Sitting for longer hours leads to numbness in legs due to lack of blood circulation among the leg muscles.I recommend you to take three to five minutes every hour to get up and walk around.
Frequent short breaks are better than few longer ones.
Some offices allow coffee break, filing or photocopying break. This helps to relax your muscles and prevent your back from becoming stiff and tensed.
You can stretch a bit as it helps in efficient blood circulation among the leg and shoulder muscles. Do few stretching exercises if you feel back strain.
While working in office, go to your colleague rather than texting or mailing. This will certainly build new walking habits in your routine.
If you are working from home, then you have lots of options which include roaming in a park, going to the grocery store, walking your pet etc.
Leaning forward to get closer to computer screen puts three to four times more strain on the spine and the discs located between the vertebrae.
The back muscles are negatively affected as the strain reduces blood and nutrient supply to the back muscles.
Sitting upright and maintaining a good posture in an office chair and working for long hours has become a challenge for most people.
Surprisingly, most people hunch forward in an attempt to get closer to the computer screen. The computer literally absorbs the consciousness of the user keeping him focused on the screen.
One such technique to avoid hunching is:
Place a tennis ball between your middle back and the chair.
The ball keeps you connected with the chair by creating acupressure effect.If one does not get absorbed into the work and starts to lean forward, the tennis will fall out, becoming a constant reminder to stop hunching and straining the back.
The above technique is easy to do, costs next to nothing and has no adverse effect.
5. Position of Wrist, Forearms, Feet and Thighs
Along with back pain, there are numerous other problems that come along with sitting. Some of them are pain in forearms, wrist, feet, thighs and neck.
These problems are like consolation gift coming with upper and lower back pain, isn’t it?
Let’s have a look at the causes and preventive measures:
Although sitting requires less effort than standing, it still causes fatigue and you need to hold parts for longer duration.
This reduces blood circulation to your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones leading to pain and stiffness.
Your arm muscles don’t like being kept hanging while typing replying back with pain in muscles.
Have a chair with arm rests to let your elbows rest comfortably on arm rests.
Your forearms should be roughly parallel with the floor and in level with the keyboard.
Repetitive movements and awkward postures lead to injury in the elbow, wrist or hand of computer users.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and numbness. To avoid these overuse injuries, use your whole arm and not just your wrist when using the mouse.
Position your mouse as close as possible to the side of the keyboard. Always type gently, using your whole arm and not just your wrist. Remove your hands from the keyboard when not typing actively and let your arms relax.
Keeping seating hours in mind, adjust your chair such that your feet are always in contact with the ground.
This helps in proper blood circulation throughout your feet while seating. Use a foot rest and adjust it to a comfortable height.
One more important fact is, don’t cross your legs while sitting as this may lead to posture related problems.
For short people, it is recommended to take a walk every one hour of seating time. This helps to flex your leg and back muscles.
Make sure that you buy an ergonomic chair that has a waterfall seat pan. Waterfall seat ensures that your thigh region and knees are relaxed.
Always keep a gap of 3 inches between the edge of the seat and the thighs. Your knees and thigh should be parallel to the ground.
Make sure those feet stay flat while sitting to circulate blood toward your legs.
Keep Your Head High
Some People have habit of holding their phone between the ear and shoulder. This brings strain on the neck and shoulder muscles as they are not designed to hold this position for any length of time.
Doing this frequently leads to muscle imbalance between the left and right side of your neck.
I would recommend you to get into the habit of holding phone in your hand or use a hands free device.
If you are already fighting with this pain then perform exercises where you need to gently lower your left ear towards your left shoulder. Hold for 10-15 deep breaths and repeat this on opposite side.
You can slowly turn your chin towards your shoulder and hold it for 10-15 deep breaths. Repeat this on opposite side as well to get efficient results.
A chair with neck rest is one suitable option where you get consistent support to the neck and head region without worrying about the pain. The neck rest also gives the extra comfort and space while having a power nap.
If you can’t afford a chair with head rest, you can order a separate head rest and attach to your ordinary office chair making it fully functional for providing comfort to your neck.
Counter Attack [Follow at your own Risk]
One of the simplest ways is to do the opposite movement to the one that is causing the problem.
If your screen is to your right, move it to the left. Swap your mouse to the other hand. You will get used to it as the time passes.
You should change your sleeping position, carry your bag on the other shoulder or hold your phone in other hand.
Circle your shoulders up, back, down then forward. There are three shoulder circles that work every muscle in and around the shoulder joint.
Sit with your hands on the lap and pull your shoulders up to your ears and hold for a few seconds before letting them relax.
Physiotherapy, Chiropractics, massage, acupuncture can provide relief when timely treatment is taken. Check how long a therapist has been practicing and whether they have any experience in dealing back problems.
Such problems should be treated with expert’s advice while considering its expense under business expense.
Note: Sudden change of way you see, use or perceive things can cause psychological effects.
Pain is Temporary, Work is Forever
The most effective way is to stay active and if necessary, use pain killers. Lying restless on bed won’t work at all keeping the pain constant. Less the movement, more will be the pain.
Your back muscles will get weaker and they will hurt more in the long term. Research has shown that people who improve movement tend to recover quicker than those who depend upon resting.
If the back pain lasts more than four weeks, you need a treatment from a physiotherapist that involves combination of painkillers, acupuncture or exercises.
Now that I’m leaving…
Hope my article was helpful enough to make your day better than before.
Follow the steps mentioned in this article to keep yourself safe from back ache and other pain that follow along with it.
This is in turn will give you tight sleep and keep you away from medication.
Prevention is better than cure.
Have a Great Day Ahead!