Did you know that back pain is one of the most common causes of physician visits not just in the United States but world wide. (3) There may be a variety of causes for your specific back pain, but what do we all do for hours every day? We sit. And according to a major study in 2015, the longer you sit, the more likely you are to have low back pain. (4)
We all need to sit - either for work, for commuting, or simply for relaxing at the end of a long day’s work. So what can we do to help avoid this pain?
Sitting isn’t necessarily the big bad wolf. It is the cascade of events that happen when we sit improperly that is likely the cause of your back pain.
For example, when we sit for long periods of time our muscles adapt. One of the key muscles which affect back pain and our posture are the hip flexors. When we sit, these muscles shorten, and since they attach to our spine as well as our hips, they result in what’s called an “anterior pelvic tilt” which compresses our spine but also weakens our gluteal muscles and our core.
This anterior pelvic tilt and resultant weakness then causes poor alignment when we walk, run, perform sports, or weight lift. Our knees collapse inward as well as our feet, potentially causing knee pain, foot pain and increased risk for arthritis.
PosturePosture is one of the biggest causes of back pain and it’s related sciatica symptoms. But luckily, many studies (5) have found that just correcting your posture can really help with relieving back pain!
How can correcting posture help prevent and reduce your back pain:
A healthy spine and back has these 3 natural curves:● A forward curve called the cervical curve● An outward curve called the thoracic curve● An inward curve called the lumbar curve
When these curves are forced into a different position, this is where we can get undo stress on the surrounding joints, nerves, discs and muscles which then leads to back pain.
What does good standing posture look like:● It’s most important to have your head in line with your body● Your shoulders should be inline with your ears● Feet should be shoulder width apart when standing● Core slightly flexed or tightened
What does good sitting posture look like:● Your head should be inline with your body● Your shoulders should be inline with your ears● Feet should rest flat on the floor with your seat height made so that your thighs are parallel with the floor● And most importantly, there should be a support for your lower back curve
Since sitting in office chairs or car seats for extended periods of time can be a major cause of back pain, it’s important to get this sitting environment properly set up.
Here are some guidelines from The Spine And Health Center of New Jersey (https://thespineandhealthcenter.com/how-to-reduce-back-pain-while-sitting-in-a-office-chair/) but don’t worry, the Slouch Be Gone back support can help transform your sitting environment into these proper ergonomic guidelines:
● Objects should be eye level when sitting. For example, make sure your gaze is aimed at the center of your computer screen.● Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle when you are resting your hands on your desk or work environment. ● Your calf and the front of your chair should be about a fist width apart, otherwise your chair may be too deep or not deep enough. ● Your bottom should be against the back of the chair and there should be a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly to prevent you from slumping forward. “Your bottom should be pressed against the back of your chair, and there should be a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly so that you don’t slump forward as you tire. This support is essential to minimize the load (strain) on your back. Never slump or slouch in your chair, as that places extra stress on your spine and lumbar discs.”(6)
Here is what proper sitting position should be in a car, according to Spine Universe(7): ● Adjustable seat back incline (100 degrees from horizontal is optimal)● Changeable seat bottom depth (from seat back to front edge)● Adjustable seat height● Adjustable seat bottom incline● Seat bottom cushion with firm (dense) foam● Adjustable lumbar support (horizontally and vertically adjustable)● Depth pulsating lumbar support to reduce static load● Adjustable bilateral arm rests● Adjustable seat back incline (100-degrees from horizontal is optimal● Adjustable head restraint with lordosis pad● Seat shock absorbers to dampen frequencies between 1- 20 Hz● Linear front-back seat travel to allow differently sized drivers to reach the pedals● Seat back damped to reduce rebounding of the torso in rear-end impacts
The Slouch Be Gone Back support was created by me, an occupational therapist assistant, with 20 plus years in treating with all types of pain: back pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, neck pain, headaches, numbness
Since I know and understand the anatomy of the human body, I specifically made the Slouch Be Gone Back Support to do just that - support the body and it’s natural curvature. By keeping the spine in it’s natural curvature and transforming any chair into a proper ergonomic set up, we promote proper head position, relieve muscle pain, tightness and fatigue related to poor posture, and spine health.
We hope you will consider our back support which you can purchase here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTSJYFJ, and if you have any questions, please email us at moc.enogebhcuols%40bocaj as we strive to make sure we can help with your pain and that you have 100% satisfaction from our back support.
We want you to live your life without pain. Our back support can greatly help and it’s simple and takes no time out of your busy schedule.
But here are additional things you can do to further help with your back pain.
What kind of work do you do? Are you a plumber, frequently bending over a sink and in awkward positions? Are you a painter, curving your spine for hours while you paint the ceilings of homes?
Repeated motion is one the highest causes of back pain. Why? Well it’s easy to get injured when your body isn’t aligned. The twisting and turning you do to get into unique positions for work is likely contributing to your sore back muscles at the end of the day.
Repeated motion is also a main factor in your back pain because you are doing these motions for hours, every day, every week, for years. Just like our shoes wear out after several months of running, so do the joints in our body. When we lose the cushioning between our joints, called synovial fluid, then we begin to have pain throughout our body.
While you likely can’t stop working, you can do the following:
Try to maintain proper posture and alignment when performing tasks
Ask for help when lifting heavy devices
Use special equipment to help you lift heavy or awkward sized objects
Hopefully I’ve illustrated that you just by making some changes to your posture at work and to your work routine, that you can dramatically reduce pain - in your back, in shoulders, and likely many other places!
Many muscles in your back attach to your hips and vice versa. As a result, if you have limited hip flexibility, your back will actually pay the price.
Why might your hips be tight and limited in mobility? Driving and desk work are the number one causes of shortening of our hip flexor muscles.
With your hips potentially being limited in mobility, it causes your spine to extend and essentially compress the fluid disks and potentially your nerves more in your back, resulting in potential back pain, stiffness, and leg pain/numbness.
While we all wish our commutes could be shorter, here are some tips to help get your hips back to proper alignment and flexibility:● Take breaks at work to stand and even walk if possible● Try a standing desk if possible● Do a simple hip stretch such as this one for 30 seconds 1-2x a day
Exercise can reduce your back pain and sciatica symptoms. It is important to be flexible but also strong. Having strong muscles isn’t just about being able to lift objects, it’s about our body working in harmony and having the structure to do so.
Think of a house. You can have a house made of flimsy straw - this house is going to feel the weight of even the tiniest object and crumble. A weak straw house will feel the slightest breeze and bend. But a house made of strong steel or wood will hold steady, it won’t feel the breeze and it won’t falter if something lands on its roof.
Just like we need to have a strong house to survive as humans, our body needs strength to thrive as well.
The main muscles you should strengthen to prevent back pain are:
Core:It’s important to have a strong core to prevent back pain. Several simple exercises for your core include:
Planks: In this exercise, you will place yourself on the floor on your hands and knees. Come up onto your hands and toes, holding your back straight. Try to hold for 30 seconds and try 3 sets with a 30 second rest in between each set.
Dead Bugs: In this exercise, you place yourself on the floor with your spine in a neutral position. Extend your legs and arms and alternate moving your legs and arms forward and then backwards, in a slow controlled manner. Try to perform this motion for 30 seconds and try 3 sets with a 30 second rest each set.
Hips:When you walk, your hips actually help stabilize your spine so that there is less shearing or twisting while you walk. My favorite simple hip strengthening exercise is the side lying leg extension. Side Lying leg extension:Lay on your side of the floor or bed and extend your top leg. Focus on trying to keep your leg up higher than your hips and slightly behind your hips. The goal is to feel your buttocks contract. Hold for 30 seconds and try for 3 times on each leg.Back:Planks are a wonderful core and back strengthening exercise. But another simple exercise is called the bird dog. Go onto your hands and knees. In this position, alternate raising your arms up and your leg out and up behind you. Try to hold your back in a neutral position and fully extend the opposite arm and leg, holding for 30 seconds and 3 reps each side.
As an occupational therapist assistant and the creator of the Slouch Be Gone Back Support, I’m driven to help solve the issues you are currently having in your spine. This is a simple device that you can put on any chair to immediately help with your posture and resultant spine or body pain.
If you have any questions about our posture device, I’d be happy to connect with you and answer your questions to ensure that this support will help you. Simply email me at moc.enogebhcuols%40bocaj with any questions or you can go directly to our Amazon store here to purchase your back support today!
1. The Use of Imaging in Management of Patients’ with Low Back Pain, J Clin Imaging Sci. 2018; 8: 30.Published online 2018 Aug 24. doi: 10.4103/jcis.JCIS_16_18. PMCID: PMC6118107 PMID: 301978212. The Mayo Clinic: Good Posture Tips. 2016 Apr 22. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/multimedia/back-pain/sls-20076817?s=53. The Mayo Clinic: December 2015Volume 90, Issue 12, Pages 1699–1718. Evaluation and Treatment of Low Back Pain, A Clinically Focused Review for Primary Care Specialists. W. Michael Hooten, MD. https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(15)00804-6/abstract4. PLoS One. 2015; 10(3): e0121159. Published online 2015 Mar 25. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121159. PMCID: PMC4373888. PMID: 25806808. Is Objectively Measured Sitting Time Associated with Low Back Pain? A Cross-Sectional Investigation in the NOMAD study. Nidhi Gupta, Caroline Stordal Christiansen, David M. Hallman, Mette Korshøj, Isabella Gomes Carneiro, Andreas Holtermann. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4373888/5. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Oct; 97(40): e12598. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000012598. Effect of gel seat cushion on chronic low back pain in occupational drivers, a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Jang Woo Lee, MD,a Young-Ho Lim, MD,b Yu Hui Won, MD, PhD,c and Dong Hyun Kim, MD, PhDd.6. The Spine and Health Center of New Jersey. https://thespineandhealthcenter.com/how-to-reduce-back-pain-while-sitting-in-a-office-chair/7. Spine Universe. Driving and Back Care. https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/driving-back-care8. Evaluation and Treatment of Acute Low Back Pain SCOTT KINKADE, M.D., M.S.P.H., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 15;75(8):1181-1188. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0415/p1181.html