January 31, 2020

Sitting tricks to prevent workplace back pain

Whether you're deskbound or driving to client appointments, sitting for most of the workday is a common culprit in back and neck pain, stiffness and tension. Yet by making a few simple changes to your sitting position, you can prevent and even relieve discomfort and related conditions.

Sitting at a desk

Returning to work after the holidays or a career break and basically chained to a desk? Perhaps you spend your workdays driving? Prolonged sitting leaning over a desk or steering wheel can result in back pain and related conditions. Yet for most of us - aside from the lucky few with treadmill desks - workplace sitting is unavoidable. So what's the answer? If you can’t avoid long periods sitting, the next best thing is learning to sit in a way that protects your spine and prevents back and neck pain.

Audit your sitting technique

Signs your sitting needs an upgrade can be subtle and dismissed as minor discomfort or restlessness until the effects manifest as pain or limited movement. After all, incorrect sitting is so common, it appears 'normal'! Most of us automatically sit in a ‘C’ shape (shoulders rolled forward and pelvis tucked under), which compromises spine health and can lead to dreaded back pain often seen by our Thomastown and Craigieburn physiotherapists and chiropractors. 

Sitting upright can help prevent back pain

Sitting position makeover 

First, untuck your pelvis. When you sit, bend at the hips and imagine you have a piece of string from your tailbone out behind you with someone gently pulling it. Your large leg muscles should relax and allow the tailbone to naturally untuck. Be careful not to forcefully arch your back and stick your tailbone out as this will strain low back muscles.

Second, uncurl your shoulders without either sticking your chest forward or arching your back to ‘push’ back your shoulders. It should be a ‘relaxing’ rather than a forceful effort.

Third, consider activities such as yoga and Pilates, which can help to retrain the body towards optimal seated posture. This may be a regular small group class at a specialised studio or gym, or you may choose therapeutic yoga or clinical Pilates led by a Soaring Health Thomastown physiotherapist or Soaring Health Craigieburn physiotherapist, who will tailor exercises to your needs and carefully stage a program for optimal long-term results.

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We honour the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay our respects to all Elders, past and present.
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