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Back Pain: How To Live With Less Of It When Working In An Office Or From Home

Do you work in an office or stationed at a desk when working from home? If so, have you noticed increased neck, shoulder, or back pain? Here at Penrose PT we’ve seen a drastic increase of pain complaints due to our patients sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time. Good news though, we have a solution to create a healthier and a more comfortable work environment for you!

Let’s start at the bottom, with your ankles. Research suggests your ankles should be supported via a footrest keeping the ankle joints at just over a 90 degree angle. The same rule applies to your knees, keep them slightly over 90 degree angle with at least 80-90% of your thighs supported on your seat. Basically, your feet should be planted firmly on the floor and you’re not sitting in a twisted position. Which I know can be easy to do after sitting for hours without regular breaks!

Moving on to those troublesome lower backs. A lot of us are guilty of having poor sitting posture, slouching in our chairs at work, and creating extra unnecessary stress on our spine. To help avoid this extra stress it’s important to ensure that your butt is touching the back part of your chair. So, be sure to get your wiggle on and shuffle to the back of your chair! At this point, don’t be worried if your feet come off the floor, this is where the foot support is ideal and would come in handy. Also, to assist in reducing low back pain, try using a lumbar support on your chair. These are usually available at a low cost or can even be created by simply rolling up a towel and placing it on your low back while sitting in your chair. The goal with the lumbar support is to straighten up your sitting posture and help say goodbye to low back aches.

Since we have covered back posture, let’s address those painful necks and shoulders! Do you spend a majority of your day on the phone while working and don’t use a headset? If you do, I suggest you make the investment. It will help prevent extra stress on you neck and shoulder by not having to hold up a phone to your ear while also give you full use of both hands! Now, what if you spend long hours on the computer or using a laptop? Similar to your legs, it’s important to support your arms with armrests, and ideally they would be just above desk level. This keeps your elbows at just over a 90 degree angle and level with your keyboard.

It’s also important to not neglect the wrist. When typing, the use of wrist support can help keep your forearm and elbow level with your keyboard. More important however, your computer screen should be positioned to where the top of the screen is level with your eyes when looking straight forward. If you do a lot of laptop work, I would suggest looking into getting a computer stand to adjust screen height. This however, may require you to use an external keyboard and mouse to help maintain improved sitting posture.

If you are still struggling and find it hard to relieve your pain, take a hot water bottle, or a microwaveable heat pack to work with you and apply for 20 minute periods throughout the day. I hope you guys have found this information beneficial and that it helps you in your daily working life, but do remember movement is a must!

So whether it’s simple stretches and movements while you are sitting or getting up to fill your hot water bottle, take regular breaks to get moving or stretching to avoid seizing up! If you’re unsure about what stretches you can do, you can call our office at (360)-456-1444 or email and ask our team for some help. That’s it from me this week, I’ll be back with more on back pain for you next week, have a great week!


Jennifer Penrose

Penrose Physical Therapy

"Leading Experts Helping People Become More Active and Mobile, Reduce Stress and Achieve Longevity… So They Can Enjoy Great Health For Years to Come!"

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