Lower back pain is one of the most common work-related health complaints, especially among those who spend long periods of time working at a desk. Most of the time, these painful back injuries are caused by preventative factors – such as working for too long without breaks or sitting in the wrong positions.
1: Keep your mouse at close distance
Not many people associate mouse work with back pain but if your mouse is too far away, you could end up overreaching and twisting your shoulder and arm when you work. Regularly doing this can lead to neck and back pain.
To avoid picking up a painful strain, place your mouse right next to your keyboard so that it’s at the most comfortable position for you to work.
2: Breathe from your stomach
As you work away at your desk, focus on pulling in your belly towards your spine on each inhale. Doing this will strengthen your core muscles which play a major part in supporting the upper body.
3: Sit close to your desk
Sitting too far away from your desk could mean you excessively stretch to reach your work tools. Ideally, your torso should be an arm’s length away from your computer screen. This will help you to avoid excessive reaching and twisting which are both common causes of back injuries.
4: Think on your feet
Think about what your feet are doing while you’re typing away at your keyboard; their position could be putting your back health at risk. Make sure that you keep your feet flat on the floor at shoulder-width apart. This will reduce tension in your ankles and knees.
5: Take a break!
Deadlines and heavy workloads often mean many office workers work through their breaks and push themselves to their limits, but your health is more important than your work. Taking breaks at least once every hour – even just to walk around or do a few shoulder rolls – will reduce the pressure on your spinal discs and boost your circulation. You’ll also feel more focused energised (which won’t go down too badly with your boss!).
6: Remember the “90 degree rule”
Try and sit with your knees at a 90 degree angle (so that your knees are directly over your ankles). This simple tip will help to keep your spine in a natural upright position.
7: Work your shoulders
Shoulders bear the brunt of a lot of the body’s tension so remember to give them some TLC as you graft away at your computer. Learn how to perform some self-massage techniques and regularly roll your shoulders back and down.
Try these small but highly effective measures the next time you get to the office – you’ll probably be surprised at how much more comfortable and productive you’ll be!
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