Tips to avoid back pain in the office

An office based job may not seem particularly high risk but there have been a number of health conditions associated with the predominantly sedentary nature of the job.

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One of the key issues is poor posture that can lead to back pain, musculoskeletal problems and long term injury. In fact so called ‘sitting disease’ accounted for almost one third of office injuries reported in a 2015 study – most commonly caused by lack of movement or poor posture in reception chairs.

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Long term, bad posture and back issues are likely to impact on your performance at work and your general quality of life. So here are the best ways to avoid this from happening in the office.

Practice good posture

Sitting in the same position all day can put strain on certain areas of the body so make sure you are sitting properly in a way that promotes good posture. This means sitting up straight, without slouching and keeping your shoulders back. The natural shape of your body and especially your back should feel supported by the chair. And reception chairs should ideally be ergonomically designed to promote and assist good posture. Because sitting at a desk everyday is such a repetitive thing, it’s really important that you do this daily and don’t fall into bad posture habits that could result in repetitive strain and long term back problems.

Position your monitor

If you are working on a computer then the position of that (and other objects around you) will also play a part in maintaining good posture. Ideally you don’t want to be reaching uncomfortably or straining repetitively to pick up things like stationery and telephones. Your monitor should be an arm’s length away with the top of the screen at eye level. Your keyboard should be at such an angle that when you type your wrists are straight – this position can also improve posture.

Move regularly

It’s really important to take regular movement breaks. A quick walk around the office can get your circulation moving and improve posture. Ideally you could do a few overhead stretches to relieve tension and invigorate the muscles. Taking time out for a drink, walk or even bathroom break can help to break the bad posture cycle and give you the mental as well as physical breaks that we all need at times.

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