Working 9 to 5: How to Relieve Back Pain at Your Desk

back pain desk

We live in a world of ever-increasing technology, where 86% of workers sit all day at their jobs.

Additionally, 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life.

These two facts are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are directly related.

As most of us work for at least eight hours a day, sitting at our desk, we have become quite sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle combines with poor posture and bad habits we’ve accumulated can lead to a lifetime of back pain.

However, it IS reversible! Don’t go throwing in the towel just yet!

Keep reading to learn our top tips for getting rid of nagging back pain at work!

Strength Training

One of the biggest causes of lower back pain is the perpetual weakening of core muscles due to sedentary lifestyles or lack of physical activity.

When deciding how to relieve back pain, consider strength training. It’s an excellent way to strengthen up your core and all other parts of your body. While it may not seem super appealing, strength training can be fun and can be done as quickly as 30 minutes two to three times a week. You don’t need to become a steroid-pumping bodybuilder!

However, the benefits of strength training transcend the woes of back pain in the office.

You’ll be stronger and healthier for longer with consistent strength training. Those who strength train are less likely to rely on wheelchairs in their old age.

In the short-term, you’ll sleep better, improve your health and metabolism, and will probably even drop a few pounds, despite adding muscle.

Yoga

Yoga is another great answer for how to relieve back pain. It’s also a less intimidating approach to strengthening your body, with an emphasis on core strength.

Holding yoga poses also increases flexibility and mobility. Some people also find it incredibly relaxing and even a means of meditation.

There are varying levels of yoga, from beginner to advanced. You can look up videos online or go to yoga studios where instructors can help you every step of the way. Instructors can also give you modifications for poses you aren’t quite capable of yet.

Just remember, everyone has to start somewhere, what’s most important is that you start!

Lose Weight

Sitting at a desk all day is a major cause contributing to gain weight. The more extra weight you carry, the more painful sitting at your desk can be. It’s a vicious cycle.

Carrying around extra weight all day can add to the physical stress of poor posture. It can also be a reason as to why we adopt poor postures.

Losing the excess weight can go a long way toward a healthier life and a great answer for how to relieve back pain!

Don’t worry about crazy fad dieting or unreasonably restricting yourself of carbohydrates or calories! There are healthier, more sustainable ways of eating with the intent of weight loss.

Get with a dietician or personal trainer to put you on the right nutrition path to help you lose weight.

There’s no negative side effects of getting healthier!

Sit With Good Posture

While it may not seem like something as simple as slouching throughout the day can cause intense back pain, it’s true.

Sitting with poor posture puts excess stress on certain parts of your spine. Over time, this can lead to long term damage to discs, muscles, and joints.

Correcting your posture while you sit at your desk can be a simple solution for how to relieve back pain. It will take time and constant awareness of how you’re sitting, but can lead to fantastic, pain-free results!

Get a Standing Desk

Another way to slowly increase core strength and get rid of back pain is by getting a standing desk at work.

Hopefully, your place of employment will support this healthy and therapeutic method and provide the desk for you. At the very least, they should allow you to move a standing desk into your workspace.

If you are having trouble with management getting the go-ahead, consult a doctor and ask them for a note recommending a standing desk.

Get an Ergonomic Laptop Stand

If you’re working on how to relieve back pain but your employer won’t allow a standing desk in the office, consider an ergonomic laptop stand.

This is a laptop standing desk that is a lot less intrusive, not to mention a lot less expensive, than a traditional standing desk.

This laptop stand sits atop a regular desk and elevates your laptop to standing height.  Because of its small size and incredibly reasonable price, not only will your employer allow, but they’ll probably pay for it!

Adjust Your Work Station

Now that we’ve talked about the standing solutions to 9 to 5 desk jobs, let’s discuss other work station changes you can make.

Let’s face it, standing at your desk all day is not for everyone. If bad knees, hips, joints, or old injuries prevent you from standing at your desk, there are other options!

For example, your computer monitor should be about two inches higher than eye-level and about an arm’s length away. Also, your feet should be planted on the ground with your knees directly above your ankles and shoulder width apart.

Finally, make sure you’re sitting in a chair with good back support, especially in the lower lumbar region.

Take Frequent, Short Breaks

When looking for ways how to relieve lower back pain, consider taking more breaks during the day. Don’t get carried away or your boss will start to question your integrity at work.

However, it’s completely reasonable to take 5 to 10 minutes every hour to get up and stretch, go to the bathroom, or just walk around for a bit.

As an added benefit, it’ll give your eyes a break from your computer screen, which can cause headaches and cause a surprising level of fatigue.

Get a Headset for Your Phone

Finally, if you’re at your desk all day and spend a considerable amount of time on the phone, consider getting a hands-free device. For people who cradle the phone between their shoulder and ear, this posture can cause a lot of pain over time.

A hands-free device will allow you to multitask or even stand up and walk around during phone calls.