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Make your office back-friendly

Posted Feb 07 2008 3:16pm

If you spend any amount of time in a typical office setting you are undoubtedly familiar with back pain. It’s a painful fact of life. Thankfully Orli Van Mourik spoke with Pennsylvania Osteopath Andrew Kirschner and then wrote some helpful hints for Psychology Today on how to create an environment that supports your back health. Below are some is an excerpt from the article:

Here’s Kirschner’s five-point plan for making your office back-friendly:

* Maximize your space

If you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk, make sure that the things you use frequently, such as the stapler or message pad, are within reach. Grabbing for objects can cause back contortions resulting in injury.
* Level the field

One of the leading causes of back pain is craning your neck to look at a computer screen below your field of vision. This type of injury can be easily avoided by bringing your screen up to eye level. The cheapest and easiest way to accomplish this: “Prop up your monitor with a telephone book,” says Kirschner. “They’re free and widely available.”
* Lumbarize your chair

If your office chair doesn’t offer you enough lumbar support, Kirschner suggests rolling up a small towel and placing it in the curve of your lower back. He cautions against using something too large. “The towel should just fill the gap between your back and the chair,” he says.
* Get up and stretch

Sitting in one position for too long results in back and neck injuries. When your range of motion is restricted, it can cause muscle stiffness. Get up and stretch periodically. You don’t need to go into full Downward Facing Dog. Just raise your hands above your head or do a slight back bend every 20 to 40 minutes.
* Don’t cradle the phone

“The single most important preventive measure: don’t cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder,” says Kirschner. Sitting with the phone lodged in this position is the number one cause of back and neck injuries. Invest in a hands-free headset. Barring that, use the speakerphone.

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