Back pain is a common symptom of office syndrome that has become especially prevalent during the “Work From Home” period when so many people have found themselves sitting in front of their computer screen working, chatting with colleagues and joining online meetings ‘virtually’ all day long. Staying in one place for a long time is the main cause of back pain and a poor sitting posture aggravates the symptoms. So here are 5 useful tips for how to adjust your workstation and sitting posture in order to avoid a creaking back:
1. Adjust screen distance
First and foremost, electronic devices should be set at an appropriate distance and level. For instance, a notebook screen should be at eye level 50-70 centimeters away from the eyes. Setting the screen too close can cause back pain because for every inch that you lean your face closer to the screen, the pressure on your spine rises by some 4.5 kg.
2. Adjust your chair height
A rule of thumb is that you should be able to keep your arms perpendicular to your elbows when you hold the mouse or type. You shouldn’t feel that you have to bend your back or lift your shoulders.
3. Change your sitting position
Those who like to sit cross-legged shouldn’t stay that way for a long time as the posture causes the body's weight to be transferred to one side or the other, causing an imbalance of the spine and back muscles. Crossing your legs also compresses the blood vessels and nerves in the legs, reducing blood flow efficiency. So if you like to sit cross-legged, swap sides or change to another posture from time to time. It’s also best to have a footrest to support the weight of your legs and feet and maintain balance.
4. Change your sitting angle
Every time you sit, you should sit properly with your back upright next to the backrest which should be slightly tilted backwards rather than leaning forward. If you don’t feel comfortable contact between your back and the chair, use a cushion or back pad that gives your lower back good support.
5. Change your posture
Besides adjusting the distance of your desk, chair and other devices and having a proper posture, we also need to find time to stretch during the day. It’s best to take a break from work at least every 1-2 hours to move the body and stretch so that your muscles can relax. To avoid forgetting to take care of yourself, set reminders on your mobile phone. It will not only help you avoid developing back pain but also give your eyes a rest.
Hopefully, these 5 tips will be helpful to anyone suffering from back pain due to long hours of work. Regular exercise can also help, of course. Just don’t forget to consult a doctor if you feel your symptoms worsening to get a thorough examination and prognosis for further treatment.
• Department of Health
• Samitivej Hospital
• Phyathai Hospital