Back pain from sitting at your desk is incredibly common. It’s the daily reality for a lot of people, particularly if you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk.
While there are currently no figures to confirm it, it would be quite reasonable to assume that back pain has risen over the last twelve months. With people forced to work at home, it’s meant many hours a day at a less than ideal setup. This puts more pressure on the muscles and joints in your back, usually caused by poor posture.
If you suffer from back pain that’s caused by constant desk sitting, what can you do about it? This guide will help you learn more about why you’re in pain and what can help you treat it.
Types of back pain from sitting at a desk
There are all sorts of back pains out there, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with sitting at your desk. So, it helps to almost define what sort of pain we’re looking at here.
Normally, you get pain in a few main areas:
- Pain or tightness on the outside of your hips, often near the very top of your butt
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain between your shoulder blades in the mid-back
- Extreme tightness and pain in your traps/shoulders
- Pain in your neck
If you experience any of these problems, you’re most likely looking at the right guide. If you experience all of them, you’re definitely in the right place! Now, it’s a case of knowing why you’re in pain and how you can counter it.
What causes back pain at your desk?
Posture, that is all.
Well, more accurately, poor posture. When most people sit at a desk, they do so in a way that is terrible for their body. The very nature of working at a desk means that you have a tendency to round your shoulders forward. This typically happens as you’re typing on a keyboard or writing with a pen. In turn, this makes your upper back round, which also causes your head to fall forward. As if that wasn’t enough, sitting in a chair for hours on end will mess up your hips, throwing them out of alignment. When this happens, it puts stress on your lower back, usually causing it to arch excessively.
All of this adds together to form a very painful rear side of your body! Here’s a breakdown of everything that goes wrong and why you end up in pain:
- When your head falls forward it puts more strain on the neck muscles, causing trigger points and sore muscles
- Rounded shoulders can cause impingements in the shoulder joint, which creates painful pinching sensations
- A rounded upper back makes the muscles between your shoulder blades become too stretched, leading to deep aching pain in that area. It also leads to a lack of movement in your thoracic spine, causing lots of stiffness and pain in that region
- Being rounded over like this also causes you to shrug your shoulders quite often, which is why your traps feel excessively tight and painful
- Sitting down shortens your hip flexor muscles, pulling your pelvis into an anterior tilt. This makes your lower back arch and your butt stick out. You’re stuck in this position for hours on end, and your body becomes used to it. As a result, you’re basically ‘frozen’ in this posture unless you do something about it. Having an APT can put extra strain on your lower back muscles, causing chronic pain.
- Similarly, sitting in a chair will tighten the small muscles on the side of your hips, further attributing to your back and hip pain
Obviously, the longer this goes on, the worse all your problems will be.
How do you treat back pain caused by your desk?
The answer is that there are many ways you can do this. However, none of the solutions you seek will have lasting effects if you don’t tackle the main source of the problem: your desk posture.
Try some of the treatment options listed below, but make sure you compliment them with a new setup. It’s all about making your desk is as ergonomic as possible. This starts with a good chair, forcing your body into a better upright posture. Try getting up now and then to stretch your muscles and unglue yourself from the founded forward position as well. If your body is under less stress while you work, the other solutions can finally have long-term effects.
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- See a chiropractor – Chiropractors are experts in everything to do with your spine. So, they’re perfectly placed to help with your back pain caused by sitting at your desk. Places like New World Chiro offer consultations and scans where they check your spine health, but they also check your nerves. Then, adjustments are made to help free up nerves and reduce pain, moving your body back to its optimal alignment.
- Get a deep tissue massage – A lot of your pain is caused by trigger points and muscle knots, so a deep tissue massage can solve them. This melts them away, leaving you in less pain. A few are needed before you see the results.
- Stretch & strengthen – This is something you can do at home or with the help of a physical therapist. You need to stretch the tight muscles caused by your bad posture (chest, shoulders – basically the muscles on the front of your body) and strengthen the weak ones (glutes, neck, upper back). This helps to restore you to a better posture, permanently.
Tags: back pain