Here at Pain Care Clinic we have been members of BackCare for several years and supporters of their work in sharing information about back health and helping to prevent avoidable back pain.
Low back pain is a common ailment experienced by up to 84% of adults in their lifetime. It can often be an additional burden in terms of the negative social, psychological, and sometimes economic effects experienced at an individual level. BackCare Awareness Week is an opportunity for everyone to stop and think about your body habits and reflect on how you can improve these to help your back.
We’re focusing on back pain caused by using IT equipment incorrectly as this is a common pain theme in our clients. Whether or not you have a desk-based job most of us spend at least part of our day chained to our computers or laptops. When you sit to do this on a regular basis and you’re not in the right position this can put additional strain on your lower back. The more you lean forwards, the more your lower back straightens out and loses its natural curve. This puts pressure on your intervertebral discs and can lead to bulging or prolapsed discs.
Here are some handy top tips from BackCare about how to help your back:
- Make sure your screen is directly in front of you at eye level so you don’t have to look up, down or twist to the side. You may need to place your screen on a stack of books to achieve this or invest in a proper stand.
- Your screen should be about arm’s length away from you and big enough (screen or text) so that you can read documents without having to lean forwards.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse and have them 8-10cm from the edge of your desk to rest your wrists when not typing. Use a round or soft surface to rest your wrists on when typing.
- If using your phone while typing put it on speak or use a headset – don’t wedge it between your shoulder and ear.
- Sit all the way back in your chair, focusing on making your spine as long and straight as it can be. If your chair doesn’t have a lumbar support use a small cushion or rolled up towel in the small of your back.
- Remember the 90 degree rule – hips and knees should be bent at 90 degrees to keep you in the right relaxed position.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor – if they don’t reach use a footrest or stack of books.
- Take regular breaks – set a timer or use software. Move during your breaks – this reminds your body that it can move! Even a couple of minutes stretching seated at your desk or looking out of the window helps as a reset.
And here’s a great back care exercise from us to get you started: