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How to Relieve Back Pain at Work

Learn how to relieve back pain at work from physical therapist Eric Sampson in this Howcast video.


One of the hottest topics, and the thing I get asked about a lot, is "How do I relieve my back pain when I'm at the office? I have an office job. I work somewhere between 12 and 16 hours a day. So, how am I going to relieve the pain at the office?"

It's a very challenging subject. There are ways to relieve it, and there are certainly ways to try to manage what's going on. But it's really hard to relieve the pain. In terms of management, the tricks that tend to work are just trying to get up as frequently as you can, trying to find some time to walk around the office, and, time permitting, literally, purposefully walking around. Those little itty bitty steps in the office might not be enough, but if you can get your stride length to be longer and your cadence up you might actually help a little bit with the management of the pain.

In terms of relieving the back pain it's a little tricky. You're going to really look for some stretching techniques. Hopefully either you've figured some out on your own or you've managed to go to physical therapy where they've taught you some of these exercises or stretches. If you do have some options the key is to try to stretch your back out frequently during the day. It's not going to be a morning-only but rather maybe a few times during the day, maybe every hour if it's recommended. That'll help reduce the pressure on your back associated with sitting and the amount of sitting that you're doing during the course of the day.

Naturally, whether you're trying to manage or relieve, one of the tips is going to be to try to maintain your neutral spine or neutral posture. The spine is meant to be an S shape. The lower back being in what's called the lordosis, your mid back being in a kyphosis, and then back to a lordosis for the cervical spine. So, trying to promote that S shape is the key. Either using your muscles actively, or trying to get your hands on a lumbar roll to place in your lower back that will help promote the posture of your lower back.

So, a combination of stretching, getting up frequently during the day, and trying to maintain postural habits.

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