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SinoUnited Health: Back in Business

After the common cold, back pain is the second most common cause of sick days in the US. For most people, that pain is the result of not maintaining good posture while sitting in an office chair for a long period of time. When you lean forward even 30 degrees to get closer to the screen, you are placing 4 times more strain on your back and increasing stress on soft tissue, joints and discs! With some basic advice, proper lifting, good posture and exercise common back pain and aches can be avoided.

Tips to Prevent Back Pain

  • Sit upright. Make sure the back of your chair supports the inward curve of your lower back. Keep your chest open, arms on armrests, upper back straight and feet flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs.
  • Use a lumbar support (or rolled towel) when seated at your desk and/or in the car.
  • Don’t slouch. Ever. It stresses the back.
  • Replace your office chair with an exercise ball. The exercise ball is used quite often in Physiotherapy. Sitting on a ball introduces an element of instability which, over time, strengthens you core muscles. It is not only an excellent way to prevent back injury but also a great midday workout!
  • Drink water. A good reason to make a break and move.
  • Use a Phone headset. Especially if you spend a lot of time on the phone.
  • Laugh! Don’t forget your mood has a big influence on your wellbeing!
  • Stretch!
  1. Chin Tuck: imagine you are suspending from a piece of string from the crown of your head. While keeping your eyes level to the horizon, tuck in to make a double chin. Hold for 5 second.
  2. Forward press: Gently interlock your fingers; press palms away from your body, gently stretching your forearms muscles, fingers, and the muscles between your shoulder blades. Hold for 5 seconds.
  3. Elbow Flare. Put your hands behind your neck, grasped loosely. Keep head and neck erect. Squeeze below the shoulder blades and push elbows back, taking care not to press on your neck. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Side to Side Turning. This ‘shimmy’ exercise requires sitting slightly forward in your seat and rotating your mid and upper back to the right, holding on to the backrest of the chair with your left hand. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat in the opposite direction.

No matter how comfortable you are in your office chair, prolonged, static posture is not good for your back. Make sure to stand, stretch and walk for at least a minute or two every half hour. Watch our video on office exercise on our website and follow our Physiotherapist anytime you feel like needing a break!



Anonymous's picture

Exercise Ball

I've been sitting on an exercise ball in my office for over a year now, I love it! Cannot replace it and my colleagues have started to do the same!

It really helps me to sit straight and avoid slouching, plus I can't cross my legs as I was used to do.  it also make my abs work all the time. 

I also recommend using and external screen to elevate with books. I am working on a lap top and was getting neck pain from looking down at the screen all the time. Since I set up the external screen I really feel much better.



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