While office jobs should be pain-free, they can actually take a serious toll on your body, especially on your back. Most people think that chronic back pain is only the result of heavy lifting or repetitive motion, but inactivity like a desk job can also cause chronic back pain.
Back pain is one of the most common health problems that affect adults today. It is estimated that 38% of office workers suffer from chronic back pain after sitting at a desk all day. The pain can differ in severity as well as present differently in every patient. Pain can also be different in the location from the neck to mid-back and or lower back. This can affect your overall quality of life.
Understanding what causes chronic back pain, taking steps to correct the causes, and seeing an AICA Orthopedic specialist will help.
Causes of Back Pain at Work
Several factors could be causing your chronic back pain from your office job. One of the factors may actually be sitting. If you are sitting in a poorly fitting chair or sitting for too long without getting up and moving, your muscles are not getting stretched, and they could be getting stressed. Another factor could be your posture. The good news is there are things that you can do to help reduce chronic back pain while at the office.
Create a Back-Friendly Workplace
The first thing to do in creating a back-friendly workplace is to get an ergonomic chair and put proper spacing between the chair and desk. Picking the right chair to support your spinal curves and one that can adjust the height to make sure that your feet rest flat on the floor is extremely important and should be one of your first steps. It is also crucial to make sure that the armrest adjusts so that your arms can rest gently while your shoulders are relaxed.
Another great option is to invest in a standing desk so that you have the option to switch to standing from sitting throughout the workday, which can be important in helping to avoid chronic back pain. This will allow you to move throughout the day and change positions.
Getting a hands-free phone is another way to avoid straining your neck. This helps you not to tilt your head for long periods of time while making phone calls. When the neck muscles are strained, they pull on the lower back muscles, which will cause more pain.
One of the causes of chronic back pain is being inactive throughout the day. It is important to move throughout the day to work your muscles and joints. Take a break every hour by stretching your legs and back. Taking a walk around the office or even going outdoors to get some fresh air can make all the difference.
Having a good posture is extremely important in avoiding back pain. Many think having good posture just means keeping your shoulders back, but there is more to it than that. To maintain good posture, you need to keep your muscles active, especially the muscles around the spine. To do this, you should keep your head and neck aligned above your shoulders while keeping your shoulders back. If you are sitting at your desk, keep your shoulders square with your monitor and keep your back against the back of your chair. This will help you not to be turning or tilting to one side on a regular basis. Also, while sitting at your desk, try to avoid crossing your legs and instead keep your knees at a 90-degree angle. Your feet must be able to stay flat on the floor. Depending on your height, you may need a footrest to help ensure your feet are flat and not dangling from the chair. While practicing good posture, both your abdominal muscles and back muscles are engaged and used to help support your spine.
If it is hard to maintain good posture, there may be another issue that needs to be addressed. Some people struggle to keep good posture due to the spine being misaligned. This can be solved by one of the AICA Orthopedic Chiropractors located across Atlanta.
Dehydration can actually cause back pain. In your spine are discs that protect your spine bones from rubbing together. Those discs are actually made up of mostly water. If you do not stay hydrated, those discs do not get the water that they need throughout the day to protect your spine. This will make you prone to chronic back pain and possible injury. Some signs that you are dehydrated are bad breath, confusion, dry eyes, dark urine, fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps. One of the easiest ways to tell if you are dehydrated is actually to check your urine color. The lighter the color, the more hydrated you are, and vice versa: the darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are.
Not sure if you are drinking enough water. A good rule is to try and drink half your body weight in water each day. This can be done by simply making a few simple changes to your lifestyle, including drinking a glass when you feel hungry between meals, making a schedule of times during the day to take a water break, and adding fruit or herbs to your water to add some flavor so that the water becomes a treat.
Prevention Outside of the Office
You can do things outside the office to help prevent further back pain by improving your physical condition.
In order to keep our back healthy and strong, you should do the following:
Build flexibility and strength in your muscles:
While strengthening your core, it is important to add abdominal and back muscles exercises to your routine in order to help condition your muscles so that they work together to help prevent back pain. A physical therapist can help work with you to strengthen these muscles if you need help.
Low-impact aerobic activities can help increase the flexibility and strength in your back muscles so that they function better. Other exercise options are walking and swimming. If you are not sure which exercise is right for you, an AICA Orthopedic specialist can help.
If you are overweight, the added weight could be putting strain on your back muscles. Getting regular exercise and eating healthy to trim down could help prevent back pain.
Being a smoker can increase your risk of lower back pain. The more you smoke, the higher the risk. Quitting smoking will help reduce the risk.
When to See a Chiropractor
Some people try to stretch out their back themselves and even crack or pop their back to get relief. If your back is making cracking noises, it is usually an indication that there is a misalignment in the spine or other issue that needs to be seen by a professional. A chiropractor can determine the root cause of the pain and cracking. Sometimes people think that cracking your own back will provide relief, but if the pain or stiffness returns, it is an indication that a professional chiropractor needs to be seen to determine the cause. With some conditions, it can be dangerous to crack your own back, including having a recent injury, a known disc issue, swelling in your back, severe osteoporosis, spinal cancer, high risk of stroke, abnormality in your upper neck bone, and any tingling or numbness in of your arms or legs. A chiropractor can perform an exam and make any gentle adjustments that are needed beyond what you can do yourself. With regular chiropractic care and some alterations to your workspace, there is no reason that you can not eliminate your back pain.
AICA Orthopedics for Back Pain
AICA Orthopedic specialist can help with all your back pain. Some of the specialists include physical therapists, chiropractors, and neurologists. A physical therapist can help increase the range of motion in your muscles as well as help with muscle tone. A chiropractor can realign any spinal misalignments which can cause pinched nerves and muscle tightness. A neurologist can address any nerve issues, herniated discs, inflammation, or joint pain. Any tests that are needed can also be done at AICA, whether it’s MRIs or X-rays.
At AICA Orthopedics, we have a team of back pain specialists located all over Atlanta that can help you get relief from your back pain. Our team of doctors works together to provide you with top-quality, comprehensive care. We offer personalized treatment plans that will address your specific symptoms and goals for treatment. Our AICA Orthopedic locations offer treatments in-house so that you can get all you need in one of our convenient locations. Learn more about how our back pain specialists at AICA Orthopedics can help you. Visit an AICA Orthopedics location near your and get started today with one of our back pain specialists.