How to Help Keep Your Spine Healthy at Work
We spend a lot of time in the same position: sitting. Prolonged sitting, as well as the effects of heavy lifting and repetitive movement on workers, is taking its toll. Lower back pain (LBP) and other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions account for one-third of employee absenteeism in Canada.
Whether working at your desk or simply watching TV, sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause lower back pain and other MSK conditions. The key to avoid this is to stay active and get out of your chair as often as possible. Here are some top everyday tips to help you have a healthier back at work or anytime you are sitting down.
First, ensure that you take regular breaks from sitting. Get up, take a short walk outside or around the office, move and stretch.
Perfect Your Posture.
Next, pay attention to your posture. Sitting incorrectly puts strain on your lower back, decreases blood flow to your working muscles and accelerates fatigue. Practice “active sitting” with your feet flat on the ground in front of you, your back straight, your shoulders squared and your chin parallel with the floor. This posture will strengthen the “core” muscles of your abdomen, sides and back to reduce the strain on other areas. The stronger your core muscles, the easier it will be to maintain good posture.
Choose a Good Chair.
What’s most important in preventing injury and strain is to be able to easily vary your sitting positions throughout the day. An investment in a good office chair can help a lot. The right chair for you should:
- Be easily adjustable to suit your size
- Adapt to support your spine in various working positions
- Have a backrest that supports your lower back
- Have armrests, if they are appropriate to your work
- Have a front edge that curves downward to promote proper posture
Follow these simple guidelines, maintain healthy exercise habits, and visit your chiropractor as needed for optimal spinal health.
For more strategies and tools to help you improve your posture and spinal health and keep you moving, download the Straighten Up Canada app, developed with Canada’s chiropractors. The app features easy-to-follow videos for adults and youth with exercise options that are quick and simple enough to perform on the go.