Back pain remedies for office workers

by Steven (Xuelong) Qin, Clinic Director, Advanced Physio Care
5-minute read

Like most people working in Singapore, you probably spend a significant portion of your day in an office job, in front of a computer screen and typing away on your keyboard. While most of us do take breaks, they are often infrequent, leading to an imbalance in the way we sit and posture ourselves, leading to discomfort and back pain.

Back pain symptoms can include a dull ache, sharp pain, a tingling sensation, and weakness in your legs or feet. If you already have persisted back pain, it might be time to visit a physiotherapy clinic, modern working habits then to aggravate it even further through inactivity and long hours of sitting.

But before heading to your back pain physiotherapy, here are 8 back pain tips to help improve your comfort, protect your spinal health, joints and posture while at work.

Physio Tip #1: Set up your desk properly to avoid back pain

While a lot of focus is placed on obtaining a comfortable and adjustable chair, proper ergonomics will be a holistic approach that will also take the set-up of your desk into consideration. These will include the positioning of printers, screens, mouse and even a keyboard tray if necessary.

As we move towards a more modern workplace, employers are starting to convert desks into standup-desks rather inexpensively, allowing workers to stand and work at the same time – allowing mobility and reducing the time you remain static. This also helps to build your posture muscles gently over time.

Physio Tip #2: Optimal support with your office chair

Setting up your office chair is perhaps key to ensuring proper posture and keys greatly in avoiding back pain in the first place. While owning an ergonomic office chair can help maximise your back support, it isn’t really enough – the positioning of your chair is equally important to avoid back pain.

Once your workstation or desk has been set up, ensure when seated on your chair, your gaze should be aimed at the center of your computer screen at eye level. In addition, adjusting the armrest of your office chair so that it slightly lifts your arms at the shoulders helps to take the strain off your spine and makes it less likely that you will slouch forward and ruin that perfect posture.

Physio Tip #3: Get up an walk around to relieve back pain

Taking a 5-10 minute walking break a day helps to bring in much-needed mobility to your body and helps to relieve the stress that is placed on your lower back and spine. The body is built to be mobile and upright, so remaining static and sitting down creates postural strains that cause back pain. neck pain, and other chronic issues.

The longer you sit, the more fatigue your body will actually feel. With frequent walks around the office, getting a snack for your co-workers, or even just a trip to the restrooms can give your back some much-needed relief from pain or tension.

Physio Tip #4: Avoid checking your phone for emails too much

All of us have smartphones and constantly check them for email updates. This has given us flexibility in our lives, but did you know that by doing that frequently, we tend to strain our neck and upper back that might lead to pain. It’s called “text neck” syndrome.

A great practice to follow is to use actual computers, positioned in the correct way, to view and reply your emails.

Physio Tip #5: 2 Simple back pain-relieving exercises you can do anytime

Can’t find time for a quick walk?

Not to worry, we have 2 quick exercises you can adopt to give your back some relief at anytime of the work day!

Back Exercise #1: Stretch your back ‘BIG HUG’ style

Start by hugging your body, placing your right hand on your left shoulder and the left hand on your right shoulder. Now breathe in and out, releasing the area and tension between your shoulder blades.

Back Exercise #2: The lookup

Sit up on your chair or better still – stand up! Now stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers with your palms facing the ceiling. Now tilt your head back up and gaze up at the ceiling while inhaling and exhaling before releasing the position.

What next?

Looking for expert care for your back pain from a physiotherapist in Singapore? Come down to our physiotherapy clinic in the heart of Singapore’s business district and our physiotherapists will help relieve any persistent pain you might have and restore function and mobility to your back. At Advanced Physio Care, we are next door to Capital Tower. You can also book a 20-minute video consultation call with me for just $1 a minute.

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