A Working Professional’s Guide to a Better Back

With so many working professionals sitting in chairs and in front of computers these days the back has become one of the most vulnerable areas to pain and muscle injury. This holds especially true for the lower back, a complex structure of vertebrae (bones of the spine), intervertebral discs (cushions that sit between vertebrae), muscles, tendons, and ligaments that bears much of the body’s weight.

Most people will inevitably experience low back pain in their lifetime. After all, if the lower back is misused in any way, it can fail. Disks can be ruptured, ligaments can sprain, and muscles can be strained. Unfortunately, if you’re a professional whose working environment involves daily sitting at a computer or desk you may be especially at risk, particularly if you tend to lean forward or slouch the longer you’re seated.

Slouching is by far the worst sitting posture, as it places undue stress on the spine, discs and other soft tissues of the back. In fact, more than 80 percent of all people experience back pain at some point in time due to slouching. If you’re a professional who regularly works in a seated position, there are many ways to prevent bad posture and the back problems associated with it. Here are five simple guidelines for a better back.

Related Article: Causes of Low Back Pain: Can Exercise Help?

WALK SPONTANEOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY

You can significantly ease the amount of sitting-related pressure on your spine by incorporating spontaneous walks throughout the day. Simply, make an effort to get up and walk around every 30 minutes of your workday for about 2-3 minutes. This allows you to accumulate an average of 32-48 minutes of physical activity in an 8-hour day.

Engaging in such physical activity also promotes overall good health. Research shows that every hour you spend in a seated position increases your risk of heart disease by nearly 20 percent and your risk of early death from all preventable diseases by more than 10 percent, even if you exercise regularly.

Related Article: Couch Potatoes Don't Have A Long Shelf Life: Get Up and Do Something

PERIODICALLY STAND UP AND STRETCH

Working in a seated position for extended periods of time can cause the deep muscles in the front region of your hips (deep hip flexors) to become shortened and tight. Over time, shortening and tightening of these muscles can greatly inhibit adequate lengthening which results in faulty posture, low back pain, and eventually limited mobility (shortened walking and/or running stride).

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Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you.  If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise.  However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.

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