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Tips to Avoid Back Pain at the Office

You may have recently heard the slogan, “sitting is the new smoking,” and thought to yourself, “well, that’s a little dramatic.” The fact is, it isn’t dramatic at all. Sitting for extended periods of time can absolutely wreak havoc on your body, leading not only to discomfort and pain, but ultimately to illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

Young businesswoman with neck pain sitting at office desk

Unfortunately, most of us hold jobs that require us to be sitting down a majority of the day. This leaves us feeling uncomfortable in our bones, joints, and muscles if we aren’t careful! How can we combat the adverse effects of sitting? Easily! Get up every hour and walk around and then practice these tips at the office to help you avoid back pain and other side effects from a sedentary lifestyle.

  • Stand up and sit down without using your hands!
    • This is a stretch and skill that you can do over and over again that will work your leg muscles and core. You can even do it while you’re on the phone or reading emails and no one will notice!
  • Ditch the traditional desk set up.
    • Rather than sitting in a traditional office chair, utilize an exercise ball as your seat! This will keep your back, leg, and butt muscles engaged all day and help them stay balanced.
    • If the exercise ball isn’t up your alley, consider opting for a standing desk that will allow you to take extended standing breaks as you work throughout the day.
  • Shrug your shoulders.
    • Take a deep breath as you shrug your shoulders to your ears and then lower them to release tension in your neck and shoulders.
    • Shake your head “yes” and “no” slowly to relax your neck.
  • Make air circles with your hands.
    • Clench your hands in a fist and make air circles while you count to ten. Switch directions and then repeat to release tension in your wrists.
  • Release your upper body with a torso twist.
    • Inhale and as you exhale grab the back of your chair with your right hand and the arm of your chair with your left hand. Use your hold on the chair to help twist your torso around as far as comfortably possible to the back of the room. Slowly return back to the neutral position and repeat on the other side.
  • Leg extensions.
    • Holding on to the seat of your chair for support, extend your legs straight out in front of you so they are parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes about 5 times and then release. Repeat as you are able. This is a great way to work your abs and legs!

What are some of your favorite ways to break up the sedentary days at the office? Share in the comments below!