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Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Home office essentials for dealing with back pain

 Back pain is no laughing matter, and unfortunately if you have a sedentary job which requires you to sit at a desk or be in an office for a large number of hours during the day, you may find that this low level of activity combined with poor posture can have a big impact on your back health. Whether you already suffer from debilitating back problems, which your current job exacerbates, or whether your current set up is leading to back issues - there are a number of things you can do to help deal with back pain at work...
 home office essentials for dealing with back pain

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A few years ago, my husband ended up with a herniated disc in his lower back, we had a 2 year old toddler at the time (I'm sure picking him up and lifting prams and pushchairs etc probably didn't help!) and he found the pain debilitating. Regular physio and visits to see an osteopath were not successful in treating the problem. A dalliance with strong painkillers to help with the pain lead to severe withdrawal symptoms (I'm talking about you Tramadol!) and the injection at the hospital to try and numb the pain in the nerve next to the spine was unsuccessful. Eventually, the only option was surgery to 'shave away' the offending protrusion pushing into his nerve, and remove part of the bone. Thankfully, the operation was a success BUT there are measures that needed to be put in place to help manage his condition and recovery moving forward, and to make sure that he did not end up with more back problems. Here are a list of things to help with back pain at work...

Products and treatment to help with back pain in the office:


Adjustable stand up desk:


One of the biggest changes made at work was to swap the usual sit down desk for a Standing desk ...

yo yo desk pro 1 sit-stand desk

This desk option from sit-stand is adjustable so the desk can be made higher or lower depending on height and also depending on whether you wish to stand or sit down at various points during the day. This type of desk really helps to take the pressure off of your back if you are usually sat down all day, giving you chance to move and change your posture so that your spine is not compressed or hunched over whilst sat at a desk working or taking calls. 

An adjustable stand-up desk is something we will be looking to include in our own office renovation in the near future as the option of working from home continues.

Screen or laptop stand:


If your stand up desk does not have 2 levels for a screen and/or laptop to be at eye level, then you will also need to look into an adjustable laptop stand, or monitor stand, so that you are not bending your neck forward and putting additional pressure on your spine:




                                   



A chair to help with back pain:


If you do prefer to sit, rather than stand...or if you would like the option of both sitting and standing then having an appropriate seat is really important...

 
man sitting on gym ball as an office seat

Believe it or not, an appropriately sized gym ball (also referred to as a yoga ball or a birth ball) used as a desk seat can help to relive back pain by improving posture and balance whilst increasing core strength - usually if used in short bursts such as an hour or two. This makes it the perfect combination alongside a standing desk. 
Whilst I was pregnant and teaching Reception class, I swapped my teacher chair for a birth ball in order to take the pressure off my hips and pelvis. 

You can purchase a stand alone gym ball, or you can buy chairs which have a gym ball within them:





                    


Regular physio or massages for back pain:


As part of your back health recovery or maintenance, it is really important to see a professional to help with advice and manual therapy - such as soft tissue massage - in order to maintain a healthy back and spine. Classes or 1:1 sessions for the Gyrotonic method or pilates can also be beneficial to building up strength and flexibility in the spine and core muscles.

Of course, regular massage, physio or exercise sessions may not be within everyone's budget, but there are certain products to help at home such as massage chairs to help release tension and knots until you can see a therapist.




Have you struggled with back pain and put any other measures in place to help? I'd love to hear your suggestions. I will be coming back to update this post once our home office renovation is complete, to show you exactly how a home office for someone with back pain can look!

Sarah x