A number of my clients, friends and family members have either been diagnosed with disc issues, sciatica or other back ailments ranging from annoying soreness to debilitating pain. These situations can result from years of wear and tear or from an injury. What often doesn’t help is that if we tend to sit or stand for large chunks of our work days, we’re not helping our back health. In fact, how we sit, stand and move can cause back pain and other issues.
To help prevent back pain at work, consider these various stretches and sitting concepts that were recommended by different health professionals. Disclaimer: Be sure to consult your personal health professional to find out which movements are beneficial (or not beneficial) for your situation.
The Gokhale Method®
Dr. Candace Burnikel, an acupuncturist who specializes in pain management, recommends to her clients with back pain that they watch videos about the Gokhale Method.
In this video, Esther Gokhale explains the proper technique to sit in order to prevent back pain: Stacksitting
In this article, Gokhale offers helpful graphics to show proper spine alignment while reading or sitting at a desk, especially if you wear glasses: Posture and Headache Prevention
This next video is rather lengthy, but it digs into the how and why of good sitting habits as well as bad ones. If you don’t have a long span of time to watch in one sitting, consider watching 10-15 minutes at a time:
30-minute Stretch Routine for Strengthening the Lower Back and Hips
This video from Heart and Soul Fitness (HASfit) was recommended as part of at-home physical therapy to a friend who suffered a tremendous neck and back injury in a car accident.
Pace – Don’t feel pressured to do all of the stretches, keep the same pace, or complete all of the reps in real time. Push pause on each one and take your time. My husband took about 90 minutes to get through the 30-minute stretch routine during his first week. (And he skipped some of the movements.) Go at your own pace.
Prehabilitation – These stretches can be used to help increase your strength and flexibility in your lower back and hips, which will help prevent injuries.
Rehabilitation – Check with your medical professional to see which types of movements are good as well as not good for your condition. For example, my husband’s chiropractor instructed him to hold off on the “good mornings” stretches, as well as stretches that involve curving the spine, which in the above video would be the cat-cow and cobra.
For other recommendations on helpful stretches as well as movements to avoid, also see:
Bob & Brad (Physical Therapists) – 10 Surprising Things To Avoid With Herniated Disc & Sciatica
Dr. Rowe (Chiropractor) – How to Instantly Fix Sciatica Pain
Many people don’t realize how vital a healthy back is until you lose your range of motion and experience pain. If that hasn’t happened to you, rejoice – and consider preventive techniques to prevent back pain at work. If you are currently experiencing back pain, be sure to seek medical attention and get rehabilitation recommendations geared specifically for your condition.
Wish you had more time for self-care? Check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.