Just because you are not necessarily lifting 70 lb parcels over and over doesn’t mean that your job cannot cause back pain.  Or that the pain should be ignored and will just go away overtime. There are ways to prevent back pain, such as ensuring an ergonomically friendly workplace, even if back pain has already begun simple changes to your work area and some basic treatments may be all that is needed to reduce the pain.

Ergonomic chairs are often thought of first when it comes to relieving back pain.  A good chair can make all of the difference in the world. But what if it doesn’t?  There are some other areas to look at including:

Other Causes of Back Pain in The Work Area

The angle of your monitor.  This is especially true for upper back, neck and shoulder pain.  If you have to arch your neck or look down to see the screen well- this can lead to pain and inflammation.  A comfortable viewing angle is about between 15 and 20 degrees below eye level.  The monitor should also be directly in front of you and not off to the side requiring twisting to see.  On a PC this can be accomplished with a monitor riser and/or swivel.  For a laptop this may be addressed by tilting the screen.  Sometimes a little more creativity is required.  Office supply stores often have some wonderful products to facilitate ergonomic office design changes.

A telephone without a hands-free headset.  If a writer spends a lot of time on the phone interviewing people or gathering information without using a hands free device, he or she may develop upper back or neck pain. Headsets can be easily and inexpensively purchased to be used with most phones.  Some cell phones, such as the iPhone even come with them.

Addressing these two common causes of back pain related to work area design may help to offer some relief from back pain. Other things to consider are the amount of time spent at a work station.  Even the most ergonomically friendly work area cannot prevent all muscle fatigue.  Taking regular stretching breaks and position changes can prevent muscle fatigue that will lead to strain and pain. Marathon work sessions are not a good idea.

If back pain has already become an unwelcome office colleague and you have addressed the ergonomic design changes necessary to ensure proper posture, there are some things that can be done to help keep your spine healthy.

What Can You Do To Help Keep Your Spine Healthy

Stay Active

Babying your back and neck by limiting activity may seem to be the best idea, but it rarely is.  Staying active will prevent muscle degeneration and improve blood flow.  Activity also helps distribute and needed fluid throughout the disc space and to the soft tissues.  The spinal fluid acts like grease in and engine and keeps the joint from getting too stiff.  This exchange of fluid can help reduce swelling and inflammation and thus pain.

Stop Smoking 

Smoking is more than just bad for your lungs.  It also damages the small blood vessels in the body, including the spine and the soft tissues surrounding the spine.  This reduces blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients available to the tissues with may contribute to the degeneration of the spine and discs.

Use Therapy

Heat and ice therapy can both be helpful for back pain. Because heat helps muscles relax more readily than ice more people report feeling more relief from heat therapy though.  Dry heat and moist heat both have benefits so experiment and find what works best.  It may be as simple as a hot shower or bath.  So do whichever works best in your case.   Or alternate hot and cold packs if both are helpful.

Making a work area more ergonomically friendly is very useful, especially for people who spend long period of time sitting and typing at a computer, such as bloggers.  If, despite the best efforts possible, back pain begins, there are several non-medical ideas for reducing and relieving the pain before making the leap to medical intervention.

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