What are you doing to take care of your back? If you are sitting at a desk in front of a computer for many hours a day and go home feeling a little sore then you are not alone: "Three-quarters of workers in Europe suffer health problems as a result of working on computers, a new report has claimed. A survey by monitor manufacturer CTX found that backache was the most common complaint, followed by sore eyes and headaches."
So what can you do? First of all make sure that you are set up as ergonomically as possible, you can check the basics yourself by downloading the workstation setup guide.
Take breaks Get up regularly from your chair, at least every half hour, to file, photocopy, tea break, just get up and walk across the office and back.
Exercise - Walking People with ongoing or recurrent episodes of lower back pain should consider the benefits of walking as a low-impact form of exercise. Aerobic exercise has long been shown to reduce the incidence of low back pain. However, people with low back pain often find some forms of exercise too painful to continue, and therefore don't get the exercise they need to maintain good health. Exercise walking is one way to benefit from regular exercise while not aggravating the structures in the lower back. full article
Exercise - Fit Ball Used in conjunction with your chair these balls can help strengthen core muscles. The Back in Action DVD from Lisa Westlake is a back care program offering 3 levels of effective thereapy ball routines to improve the function of your spine and the quality of every day life. This program brings a new dimension to back strengthening, rehabilitation and injury prevention.
Exercise at work These exercises are easy to do while seated near your computer and take just a few minutes each and help prevent back pain.
Benefits: Releases tension in the lower back, elongates the spine.
Step 1: Sit comfortably on the chair, feet parallel and resting on the floor. Place hands on the knees, elongate the spine and the back of the neck.
Step 2: Bend forward from the hips, leading with the front of the body. Release hands onto the floor, resting the chest on the knees.
Step 3: Hold for 10 seconds, then gently come up.
Benefits: Stretches the muscles of the spinal column relieving tension or tightness, nourishes the spinal nerves, opens the chest.
Step1: Sit on a chair, your weight slightly forwards. Do not collapse the back of your waist but sit up tall, so that the front of your body is stretched and your chest is open.
Step 2: Then, without moving your hips, twist to the right and hold the back of the chair seat with your right hand, putting the back of your left hand against your right thigh. Keep your knees in line with your hips. As you turn, drop your shoulders, letting your spine stretch up from the hips. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat on the other side.
Seated Spinal Stretch
Benefits: Increases mobility of the hips and lower back. Opens the chest, promotes breathing and better circulation.
Step 1: Sit on front of chair, feet parallel & flat on floor. Allow the spine to lengthen.
Step 2: Place your hands on your knees.
Step 3: Inhale as you draw your shoulders back.
Step 4: Lift your head and draw your heart forward and up, arching your back.
Step 5: Exhale, release your head down. Press your hands into your knees, round your back up toward the ceiling. Draw the abdominals in towards the spine.
Step 6: Repeat 4-5 times, then come back to a sitting position.