If you are one of the many Australians who spend their days at a desk, one of the most common ailments you might find yourself with is lower back pain. Lower back pain is estimated to be experienced by 70 – 90% of Australians at some point in their lives, so this month we are writing about three ways you can alleviate that niggling pain!
1 – Maintain correct posture at your desk
In a previous blog on maintaining posture at your home office (link), we talk about some of the great desk practices you can adopt. To summarise, you can ensure that your desk set up is ergonomic with the following adjustments:
- Raise your monitor or laptop to eye level so that your eyes are looking straight ahead.
- Adjust your chair so that your elbows are kept at 90 degrees to the desk.
- Adjust your back panel so that you keep your back straight and avoid any unnecessary slouching.
- Keep your feet flat to the floor instead of crossed.
2 – Stretch and move
To keep your muscles warm and joints loosened, take a break from your desk every hour. Walk around and have a glass of water – this will not only give your back a rest, but your mind and eyes too! If you are experiencing lower back pain there are a few simple stretches you can do too:
- Knee to Chest – lie on your back and fold your knee up to your chest. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat on both legs.
- Trunk Rotation – lie on your back and bend both knees up so that you are positioned as if you were sitting on a chair. Keeping your arms wide out and palms to the floor, gently roll your bent knees to one side and hold for 15 – 20 seconds. Repeat on both sides.
- Cat and Cow Pose – on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, move between arching your back down into the “Cow” position and bending your back up into a “Cat” position. This yoga-style stretch can be enhanced by breathing in as you activate your Cow pose, and breathing out as you activate your Cat pose.
3 – Using Ice and heat
Should our preventative tips above still not do the trick, the use of ice and heat packs may assist further. Here is how either can help:
- Use of a cold pack can help reduce inflammation and pain. You can use a frozen gel pack wrapped in a tea towel, or get creative and try a bag of frozen peas if you don’t have a gel pack at home!
- A heat pack, on the other hand, can help improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. A warm shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heat bag are just a few ways you can apply warmth to your back.
And there you have it – our top three tips for easing lower back pain. With the right amount of self-care you can prevent unnecessary strain to your lower back. But if you have any questions, our team at Northern Myotherapy are here to answer your questions (link to contact page) and assist you with further on hands treatments.