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Back pain from working in an office setting is a very common complaint among people in the work force. You might think that only workers with physically demanding jobs are at risk, but the fact is that even people in more sedentary roles can end up with back pain. Dr. Fischer treats patients who complain of spine symptoms related to working in an office. Luckily there are some changes you can make to decrease back pain and prevent further discomfort.

Practice good posture
Focus on learning to sit and stand properly instead of slouching. Hold your head and neck directly above your shoulders and press your back against the chair. Keep your shoulders square with your computer screen. Move your chair close enough to the desk to keep your upper arms parallel to your spine. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle without crossing your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor.

Consider your workspace
Your goal should be creating an ergonomic workspace that promotes good posture and movement without straining your body. Adjust the height of your computer monitor so the top is at eye level and does not require you to tilt your head to see the screen. Modify the monitor’s brightness if you find yourself leaning toward the screen to see it and change the font size as needed. Move items that you use often within easy reach while you are sitting so that you do not need to strain to reach them.

Select a proper chair
Choose an adjustable chair that you can raise or lower as needed to work at comfortable heights. An adjustable backrest and armrests can also be helpful in maintaining good posture. A chair that swivels is especially helpful if you need to turn or rotate often. Look for a seat made with adequate padding and comfortable material, as well as sufficient lumbar support for your lower back. Place a small pillow behind your back if needed.

Move correctly
Incorrect lifting or twisting are risky movements at work. Lift objects by bending your knees and keeping your back straight when standing. Avoid twisting your body or lifting anything that is too heavy. Spine surgeon Dr. Fischer can provide instructions for proper lifting techniques. Practice good posture when walking by standing tall and keeping your shoulders back. If you are on the phone a lot, use a hands-free device instead of tilting your head to hold the phone on your shoulder.

Take frequent breaks
Remember to take frequent short breaks if your job requires long hours at a desk. Get up to move and stretch your back. Even short walks can go a long way in reducing and preventing back pain.