October 16th is world spine day, a day that reminds us that a damaged spine can impact every part of our life. Long working hours with increasing pressure to meet the deadlines describe the day of working professionals these days. An unhealthy lifestyle, disturbed routine and wrong posture lead to severe spine related issues.
Good posture results when your body muscles and joints are balanced and supported properly.
One must be careful to attain a good posture. Strong muscles keep your back healthy and resistant to pain and injury. In fact, you can alleviate and prevent low-back pain through spine rehabilitation and regular core training.
Few simple ways to improve your posture at work for a healthy back:
Sitting correctly: Sit with your hips all the way behind and feet flat and supported on the ground. Your arms should be supported on armrest and back should lean against the backrest.
Keep Gadgets at eye level: The uppermost part of the screen of your laptop or desktop should be at the eye level and a mouse should be used at the elbow bent at a 90-degree level. A laptop stand can be used to increase the height of the laptop.
When using a cell phone, look down at the screen with your eyes instead of bending your neck. This reduces strain on your neck muscles when using your phone for long hours.
Bend correctly: You should always bend from your knee first than bending directly from the back. Bending directly from the back or stoop bending increase the stress on the back muscles and also on the intervertebral discs.
Lift heavy objects with caution: Do a squat bend or rather squat down completely. Get the object to be lifted close to the body and then lift it. Do not stoop and lift because it increases the pressures on the intervertebral disc.
Avoid slouching: You have to sit up straight and sit all the way back in your chair. The chair should be tucked in close to desk. And, you might need lower back support like a lumbar roll.
Stand more: Stand every hour to take postural breaks, stretch, twist and turn the muscles to avoid pulling muscles.
Stretching is important: Do simple stretches throughout the day such as placing your hands on your lower back and stretching backwards. (Precaution: when in pain do not try at home exercises of stretching without medical supervision. Consult a spine specialist or spine rehabilitation expert)
Get moving: Make calls on your feet or suggest a moving meeting, walk up to a colleagues desk to talk to them instead of using phone or text.
Visit a spine specialist immediately if
- You experience recurring pain for more than 6 weeks
- Pain radiates to your arms or legs
- Unable to walk or stand for more than 5 minutes
- Experience loss of bowel control
- You have been advised spine surgery
(Disclaimer: The writer is Dr Garima Anandani, Senior Spine Specialist & Clinical Director, QI Spine Clinic. Views expressed are personal opinion.)