When you think of spinal cord injuries, you may assume that they only occur from traumatic incidents such as vehicle accidents or high impact sporting injuries, but you would be wrong. There are many different ways in which the spine can be damaged and one of them is by not taking care of your back during regular day to day activities. Practicing good posture when sitting at work is one way to ease the stress on your back, if you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, and this can help to avoid back pain.
Painkillers and analgesics can provide temporary relief if you have back pain, but it’s better to not rely solely on the benefits of Dolo 650, Ibuprofen, Aspirin or any other similar medicines. A preferred long term approach would be to follow some basic principles for maintaining a healthy back and managing back pain at work, like the seven highlighted below.
- Adjust keyboard and monitor placement
The easiest thing you can do to have a healthier spine is to take care of the placement of the keyboard and monitor.
Keeping your monitor too low will make your head to angle downward, thereby inducing stress in your neck. Thus, to ensure the correct posture, place your monitor directly in front of you so that thecentre of the screen is aligning with your nose.
The keyboard must be placed close enough that your elbows are bent nearly 90 degrees while typing. Make sure that you are not forced tobend down through your shoulders to use the keyboard. The mouse must also be placed at the exact level as that of the keyboard.
- Limit the usage of tablets and phone
It is often seen that people tend to angle their heads forward when using tablets and phones (especially touch screen). Holding head in such a position for prolonged periods can cause strained and painful muscles. In the long run, this may even lead to disc or joint injuries in the spinal cord.
Thus, it’s better to use your desktop computer rather than phones and tablets.
- Pay attention to good posture
While caring for the spinal cord and back, the importance of a good posture is something that can’t be denied. A good posture is a posture that distributes your weight equally through your sit bones (bones in the lower portion of the hips).
While sitting at your desk, try not to slouch. Hold your back straight, or rest it straight against the back of the chair, and the head should be in a neutral position. The height of the chair should be adjusted wellthat your thighs angle down slightly.
- There’s no need to overprotect your posture
Remember, that maintaining a good posture is to keep you relaxed and it’s a natural tendency to slouch or to move into a more comfortable zone. So, even if you fail to maintain a perfect posture, there’s nothing to worry about. Overprotecting the posture by restringing your movement will do no good; rather it will affect the health of the spine adversely.
- Stand often
No matter how relaxing it may sound, sitting inthe office is actually not relaxing at all. The longer you sit, the harder it gets for you to hold good posture. Thus, to ensure that you hold a good posture for long hours try spending at least one to two hours (in divided phases) on your feet. For this, you may take short breaks and if taking breaks is not possible, you use standing or convertible desks.
- Walk around
Just like our rest of the body, our spines are also meant to move. Sitting continuously for hours may increase the risk of developing persistent pain in the neck, back and shoulders. Thus, it’s important you walk around yourworkplace every half hour, especially when you feel slight achiness or stiffness in backs shoulders and neck. To get onto this habit, set alarms on your smartphones to go off every half an hour. While it might not be feasible to get up every time the alarm rings, it can be agood reminder that you have been resting your sit bones for quite a long.
- Choose the right footwear
Wearing high heels regularly may affect the centre of the body, thereby negatively affecting the back support and posture by inducing compensatory alignment of the entire body. So, if you are in love with your high heels, maybe it’s time to break up with them! Choose flats or low heels over high heels, start propping a leg up on a footrest, opt for supportive shoe orthotics, and see the difference yourself.
The above-mentioned tips can be easily inculcated in your existing lifestyle. Just give them a try and they will surely pay off in terms of a healthier spine, and reduced pain and stiffness over time.