One of the most common complaints in the workplace is back pain. Sound familiar? Long hours spent hunched over in front of a computer screen combined with lack of activity are not your back’s best friend.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work and second most common reason for doctor visits
- 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time
- Four out of five people experience back problems at some point in their life
Source: American Chiropractic Association
The good news: It’s Back Care Awareness Week and we have six back-happy challenges to share with your employees. Time to lighten up those aches and pains!
6 challenges to show employees you’ve got their back:
1. Posture Perfect
Awareness of your posture is extremely important, especially at work where you’re prone to sit for long periods of time. Try these tips to improve your posture:
- Sit up with your back straight and shoulders back
- Slide your bottom so it touches the back of your chair
- Maintain the natural curve of your lower back. Place a pillow or rolled up towel in the curve to help ensure proper posture
2. Workstation Revamp
It’s not just your posture that’s causing back pain – your workstation set up is also a culprit. Be sure to make these back-friendly fixings:
- Make sure the top of your computer is at eye level.
- Adjust the height of your chair so your feet are flat on ground.
- Modify the height of your desk so that your elbows rest just above it.
3. No Slouch Desk Stretches
Did you know you’re supposed to stretch roughly every 30 minutes? Stretching increases your flexibility, which in turn can help alleviate lower back pain. Twist, hug and bend in your chair:
- Spinal twist: Cross your right hand over the outside of your left knee, place your left arm over the back of the chair, and twist your body. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Body hug: Hug your body by crossing your arms in front of you to touch your shoulders. Breathe in and out to release tightness between your shoulder blades.
- Forward bend: Bend your body forward to allow your arms and head to hang over your knees. Breathe in when returning to your original position.
4. Active breaks
Relieve muscle tension by taking regular breaks to get up and move. Here are three back-happy breaks:
- Ditch the email: Walk over to a colleague instead of emailing or IMing.
- Have some H20: Drinking plenty of water helps keep your intervertebral discs hydrated.
- Schedule walking meetings: If your meeting allows – take it outside and walk and talk! (Check out our tips for making walking meetings a success)
5. Doable Deskercises
Keep your joints and muscles healthy while sitting in your chair by doing these good-for-your-back exercises:
- Lateral neck rotation: Rotate your head to the left for three seconds, return to front and repeat to the right. Repeat 10 times.
- Shoulder shrugs: Raise and lower your shoulders while relaxing your neck. Repeat 10 times.
- Seated calf raises: Lift your heels off the ground and hold for three seconds before returning back to the ground. Repeat 10 times.
6. Change That Chair
Try out alternative seating options to find the best fit for your back. Be sure to maintain proper posture wherever you sit (or stand)! Here are some straight-back choices:
- Standing desk: Ditch your chair and try standing. Raise your desk so that your elbows rest just above it and stand up straight.
- Exercise ball: Balancing on an exercise ball activates and exercises many muscles, which helps improve your posture and prevent back injuries.
- Kneeling chair: Ergonomic kneeling chairs were created to maintain proper posture without having to put any effort in and are known to work wonders for lower back pain.