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How to prevent back pain in the office

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If you sit or stand for long periods of time at work, here are some ways to help prevent back pain.

Exercise - Preventing back pain starts with maintaining overall health. The Mayo clinic has found that the average healthy adult should engage in some form of aerobic exercise whether low impact or high impact.

Include specific exercises twice a week to strengthen the back muscles and abdomen. Doctors say even 30 to 60 minutes of walking each day will help the body’s systems.

Standing - If your job requires you to stand for long periods of time stand on a rubber mat.

Wear the correct type of shoe with arch support.

Balance your weight keeping your body aligned and vertical, don’t slouch.

Sitting - Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT a vice president with Champion Sports Medicine in Birmingham, AL says “Sitting hurts your back more than standing.”

Your computer screen should be at eye level, rest both feet flat on the floor or use a footrest when you sit.

Keep your head level, shoulders relaxed and upper arms hang normally at the side of the body. Keep forearms parallel to the floor.

Don’t cross your legs.

Your back should be fully supported. Use a small pillow if necessary.

OSHAs website lists proper set up of computer workstations and components.

Lifting - When you lift, feet should be shoulder width apart and lift close to the body. Bend your knees, keep your back straight and tighten stomach muscles.

Do not try to lift an object too heavy.

Always turn using short steps.

Wear a back support if you lift frequently.

Take a break - At least once an hour, get up and stretch. Reach your arms to the ceiling, roll your shoulders and neck. Stretch your fingers and hands.

Vary tasks and change your working position throughout the day.

Take a walk, use other muscles. Instead of calling a co-worker, walk to their desk instead.

Take notice of your posture in the workplace. Even little changes will help.

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