In many cases, our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists treat clients with musculoskeletal conditions caused by injuries caused by playing sports or other activities. But, did you know that sedentary occupations – involving a lot of sitting in one place – can also cause injuries and musculoskeletal issues?
Among the most common health complaints of those who work sitting down, typically in an office setting, is low back pain. Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid the debilitating discomfort of low back pain.
How you sit at your desk makes all the difference. Here are the major points to keep in mind.
- Your head and neck should be aligned comfortably above your shoulders – not straining forwards.
- If you use a mouse, place it right next to your keyboard so you don’t have to reach, or twist your upper body.
- Your chair should support your lower back and the curve of your spine. Ideally, you should tilt your chair slightly backwards.
- Sit with your torso about an arm’s length from the monitor, and the monitor should be about 2 to 3 inches above eye level. This arrangement will minimize stress on the joints.
- Keep feet flat on the floor, about a foot apart. This will ease tension in knees and ankles.
- Knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
- If you sit constantly at a computer, be sure to get up about every 30 to 60 minutes to reduce the pressure on your spinal disks.
- If you work at a laptop, attach a separate keyboard and mouse to avoid having to stretch your arm and wrist constantly.
- Avoid sitting cross legged, as it creates an imbalance, and makes it difficult to keep your spine straight.
Protect your back.
If you have a sedentary job, the best thing you can do for your back – and your general health – is to take that into account when you consider your overall lifestyle. Your Toronto physiotherapist or chiropractor can give you advice on the best exercises to keep you loose and protect your back.
Exercise is the best way to stay limber.
- Along with aerobics, be sure to target the core muscles of your abdomen and back.
- Strong muscles mean balance and a reduced risk of injury.
- It will also help your posture by providing proper support to your spine.
Consider weight loss.
- Excess weight adds to the pressure on your spine and lower back in general.
- It can also reduce your mobility and balance.
- You may not be aware of the connection, but it’s there: smoke and nicotine can cause spinal discs to deteriorate and age much more quickly than if you don’t smoke.
Whether you lift objects as part of your job, or simply on occasion for household purposes, the way you do it is important.
- Stay close to the object as you lift it, and hold it close to your body, keeping your feet about a shoulder’s width apart.
- Keep your back straight, and bend with your knees to reach the object.
- Lift it with your leg muscles, keeping your abs tight.
- Don’t overdo it – if you need help, then ask for it rather than attempting to lift something too heavy.
If you are experiencing low back pain, or you’d like personalized advice on this or any other aspect of your musculoskeletal health, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractic, and sports medicine clinics today. Call us or drop by one of our Toronto clinics to make an appointment.