As a working mum you may be sitting for long hours at work and not getting adequate rest while managing home and younger kids. This may lead to episodes of back pain. In this blog we will discuss 4 tips to manage back pain from sitting all day.
Firstly try not to sit for prolonged periods at a time. Under normal circumstances gravity acts on our body at all times. But when we stay in prolonged postures such as sitting or standing the muscles in our back have to constantly hold their position with no change in their length. This tends to make them achy and tired as they don’t get the time to destress. The same is true for the spine and the joints in the area. Thus by the time we get to the afternoon or end of the day we feel the tiredness, ache or pain in the spine and muscles of the back. To avoid this move every 20 to 30 minutes whether it is to get from your chair or simply get a glass of water. During long meetings and video calls try to shuffle in your seat or shifting your weight from one side of the bottom to the other. You could also or cross and uncross your legs. If you are on a voice call try and walk around if possible. An adjustable standing desk that alternates between standing and sitting can also serve as a good solution to static sitting.
Secondly, note when the pain starts everyday. Most of us feel a niggle of pain before the full blown back pain occurs at the end of the day. Try to apply a cold pack when you feel that niggle of pain. Alternatively if you don't feel this niggle then apply the cold pack as soon as the pain starts and don't wait for it to build up on itself. A cold pack helps to ease the inflammation in the back. However some people prefer to use a hot pack as it provides them with more relief from back pain. This is also specially true for those who wake up in the mornings with a stiff back. You can also substitute this with a hot shower or a hot bath or sauna. Heat helps to ease the muscle spasm and thus relieve back pain and spasm. Once you start your day without back pain it will delay the build up of back pain later in the day with long hours of sitting.
Here is a video that explains more about using hot and cold packs for back pain:
Thirdly, try and sit back into your chair so that your so that your bottom is touching the back of the seat. However be mindful to keep a 1 inch gap between the edge of the seat and the back of your knee. This ensures there is no additional pressure on the important structures that are present at the back of the knee. If the seat of your chair is too long and this is not possible use a pillow or lumbar support behind your back to shorted the seat length. When your back muscles get tired you tend to move back towards the seat to lean on it. If you don’t sit back into your chair there is enough room for you slouch into the seat at this stage, leading to a poor slumped posture and back pain.
Fourthly, there are some simple desk based exercises that you can do to prevent back pains specially when sitting for long hours. You can do these exercises in under 2 to 3 minutes depending on how many repetitions you're doing. I have made a video for these exercises which you can get HERE. (This will ask you for an email but that’s only because I send the video to you over email).
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