Are you sitting down? Good, because we’ve got something staggering to share with you.
On second thought, you’ll probably want to stand up after you read this.
Believe it or not, back pain affects 50% of American workers each year and is one of the leading causes of missed workdays.
To quantify that, back pain accounts for more than 264 million lost workdays every single year—that’s two workdays for every full-time worker in the country.
And given that an inactive job or a desk job can contribute to back pain—especially if you sit all day in a chair with inadequate back support—it’s important to make sure you’re taking steps to mitigate it.
How to Reduce Back Pain at Work
While back pain at work is extremely common, the good news is that there are some easy ways to reduce and avoid it.
Stand More Often
If you’re experiencing nagging back pain at work, one way to help get rid of it is to simply stand up more frequently.
Being sedentary in your chair, especially one that’s not ergonomic, can put a strain on the discs in your back and cause your legs to tense up, which has a ripple effect up into your glutes and back.
Whenever possible, try to get up and move around the office at least once every hour, even for a few minutes.
In addition to standing up and moving around more, you can help reduce back tension and pain at work by stretching more regularly.
There are a ton of great stretches you can do while working, including:
- Standing Trunk Extension Stretch: Place your hands on your hips and slowly lead backward until you feel a mild stretch in your abs and slight pressure in your lower back.
- Standing Quadriceps/Hip Flexor Stretch: Put one foot up on a chair behind you. Slowly push your pelvis forward while contracting your glutes. You should feel a stretch on the front of your hip and thigh.
- Seated Lateral Trunk Stretch: While in a seated position, raise one arm over your head. Place your other hand on your thigh for support. Then, slowly bend to the opposite side until you feel a comfortable stretch along the side of your trunk.
- Seated Knee to Chest Stretch: While sitting in a chair, raise one knee as if you are marching until you can reach it with your hands. Use both hands to pull the bent knee up toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the lower back and back of the hip.
- Seated Hamstring Stretch: While seated, rest your heel on the floor with your knee straight. Gently lean forward until a stretch is felt behind your knee/thigh. You should keep your low back straight to focus the stretch on the hamstring muscles.
- Seated Figure 4 Stretch: Seated in a chair, cross one leg on top of the other so that your ankle is sitting over the opposite knee. Place one hand on the knee of the crossed leg. Gently lean your trunk forward while pressing gently on the crossed knee until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in the hip and buttock area.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: While lying on your back, slowly bring one knee up toward your chest. Grasp the knee with both hands (either on top or under the knee) and gently pull it up towards your chest.
- Double Knee to Chest Stretch: This is just like the single knee to chest stretch except using both knees at once.
- Supine Piriformis Stretch: While lying on your back, slowly bring one knee up toward your chest as you did with the single knee to chest stretch. Grasp the knee with both hands (either on top or under the knee) and gently pull it up across your body toward the opposite shoulder.
- Lower Trunk Rotation Stretch: While lying on your back, keep your feet and knees together with your knees bent. Gently lower your knees to one side until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in the opposite side of your low back and hip.
- Prayer Stretch: Start on your hands and knees with your hands in front of your knees. Slowly lower your buttocks towards your feet until you feel a mild to moderate stretch along your mid and lower back.
- Lateral Prayer Stretch: Start on your hands and knees as with the prayer stretch, but place both hands to one side. Slowly lower your buttocks towards your feet until you feel a mild to moderate stretch along the opposite side of your mid and lower back. To stretch the other side, move your hands to the opposite side and stretch again.
With each of these stretches, aim to hold the movement for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat them three to five times.
For a video demonstration, check out this tutorial from BTOD.com.
Find an Ergonomic Office Chair
One of the most important and proactive ways that you can minimize your risk of experiencing back pain is to find the perfect ergonomic chair.
The 3 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain
Many ergonomic chair retailers claim to have the best office chairs for back pain. But with literally thousands of options available, how can you be sure you’ve found the right one?
The best office chairs for back pain will conform to your body shape, support a proper posture, keep your joints and tissues in a neutral position, and allow for proper hip and pelvis alignment. This lowers your risk of injury and strain, will give you more energy, and let you focus without distraction and discomfort.
Here are our selections for the three best office chairs for back pain.
The Nouhaus Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair combines a high degree of reclining with self-adjustable backrest tension, robust neck support, and a highly contoured waterfall seat.
Coming in at $319.99, this chair offers all the familiar features of luxury-grade ergonomic chairs at a price tag that’s about half the size.
As is the case with all of the best office chairs for back pain, the Ergo3D chair is fully customizable with a long, curved backrest that cradles your entire spine, from neck to hips.
It also features an adjustable tilt that ranges all the way from 90 degrees to the expert-recommend 135 degrees, which has been proven to put the least pressure on your spine.
The Ergo3D also has a large, tiltable headrest for neck support as well as armrests that move in all directions.
Bang for buck, this is hands-down one of the best office chairs for back pain.
The Aloria makes our list of the best office chairs for back pain because it’s robust, comfortable, high-quality, and ultra-adjustable.
The seat boasts supple cowhide leather upholstery which is both breathable and durable. It also has a waterfall seat edge, and you can even adjust your seat’s depth, both of which promote good circulation under your thighs.
Its armrests are 4D, meaning they can pivot in all directions, and it also offers an extremely robust and adjustable headrest that helps fit the contour of your cervical spine.
This chair does come in on the costlier side, though, ranging from $449.99 to $799.99, depending on the specifications you choose.
You don’t have to be a gamer to love this GT909 Gaming Chair. In fact, gaming chairs can be some of the best office chairs for back pain.
To start, most gaming chairs simply outdo other office chairs in how far they can recline. This one can reach a near-horizontal 170 degrees. A heavily reclined backrest not only helps relieve spinal pressure for longer but can also relax your entire body.
And unlike most other office chairs, the GT909 has a pullout footrest to help you find the most ergonomic position possible.
The GT909 also features a memory foam seat and an external neck pillow to support your cervical spine.
Best of all, this is the most affordable option on our list of the best office chairs for back pain, retailing for only $209.99.
Back pain is a common problem for professionals of all ages. So, in order to make sure you’re making the most out of every workday and going home comfortable and pain-free, it’s vital to add the best office chair for back pain to your office set-up.
And if you’re interested in other ways to maximize your workdays, get in touch with us today to learn how flexible office space can take your days from good to incredible.