Here are 4 top tips on how to navigate through the challenges of modern working life and protect your back every day. 1) Keep moving Regular blood flow to the muscles of the back keeps them warm and supple, and regular movement keeps discs operating effectively.
Set an alarm to remind you to get moving every 20-30 minutes. Don't be concerned about moving away from your work station - you don't have to go far (actually just standing and moving on the spot can be enough) and the physical activity will help you clear your head and enable you to work more efficiently throughout your entire day.
If you're really worried about losing any productive time, take a problem or issue with you in your head and resolve it as you stand or walk around the office or around the block.
Use a pedometer, a step counting App, or any of the latest fitness technology to ensure you hit your daily activity targets. Appreciating how regularly you need to move in order to keep your mind and body healthy will motivate you to seek out opportunities to squeeze in extra activity wherever you can.
Every time you move, your back will thank you for it.
2) Observe good posture and position all day long At your desk, sit upright with your feet flat on the floor. Whatever chair you have, sit tall and support yourself from your stomach and lower back rather than leaning on the back of the chair.
Keep your shoulders back and relaxed with your head directly above your shoulders rather than allowing your chin to drop or your head to jut forwards. If you need to look down at a screen, do so with your eyes rather than with your head and neck.
If you're driving, or are in transit, aim to maintain an upright posture as much as possible while sitting, standing and walking. Avoid slouching at all costs.
3) Stretch regularly
A few simple stretches throughout the day will keep your body safe and balanced.
Periodically, try a few shoulder rolls forwards and backwards, tilt your head towards each shoulder, lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together, and twist your torso to mobilise your upper back.
You can also sit or stand up straight and practice curving and arching your lower back.
4) Think about how you move
Many of the daily tasks we perform put extra strain on our back. Often, putting your lower back into it makes tasks feel easier but for a few days give some thought about how you can sit, stand, move, lift and go about your daily routine trying to minimise pressure on your back.
This will mean moving differently, and working a bit harder with some other areas of your body (bend your legs, engage your mid-back to keep your chest open and avoid rounding your shoulders) and you'll soon notice and appreciate the reduced workload through your spine.