Many of us deal with back pain due to sitting long hours hunched over our computers and devices. To make matters worse, we go from sitting at our desks, to sitting in our cars for the long commute home. Dr. David Agus, a leading Oncologist from Keck Medicine USC, recently appeared on CNBC and compared 5 hours of sitting at a desk as “the equivalent on a health basis as smoking a pack and a quarter a day”. Shocking! If your back pain is acute then I encourage you to see your doctor but very often, achy back pain can be connected to poor posture, muscle weakness and bad habits. These are all things we can do something about!
First and foremost, move your body! The more you move the better you will feel. Get up from your desk regularly. Stand up every time you make or receive phone call. If you can, transition to a standing or walking desk. If you have 20 mins between meetings do some stretches, Pilates mat work or a wall squat. If you don’t want to crease your clothes go for a brisk walk. Walk to grab lunch. Park your car further away from your destination so that you have to walk, keep a pair of sneakers in your car. Choose the stairs instead of the elevator! You have choices.
Begin a dialogue with yourself by paying attention to your body. Does your back hurt more when you’ve been sitting for hours at a time? Or does it ache when you stand for long periods? How do you stand? Do you hang in one hip more than the other? Do your feet roll in or out? Do you hyperextend your knees? Do your shoulders roll forward constantly? Does your back feel better after being active or worse? Take note when you are feeling better and notice what you’ve been doing when you feel worse.
Movement is medicine!