If you spend any amount of time in an office chair, in your car, in an uncomfortable airplane seat, or just sitting anywhere at a desk, you have undoubtedly dealt with serious discomfort, probably to your lower back. This discomfort can make getting through a workday very difficult, but it can actually cause some serious chronic pain over time as well.
This pain can cause your work to be negatively impacted and can also affect the workplace dynamic if everyone is always in pain around each other. For anyone who constantly deals with low back pain due to seats that were just not designed with ergonomics in mind, this article is just for you! Let’s go over some of the causes of back pain, how to relieve it quickly, what to explore if quick pain management remedies don’t work, and how to improve your posture overall.
What Are The Causes Of Back Pain?
Arguably one of the most common causes of workplace discomfort is back pain. Back pain can be a crippling part of anyone’s day, especially when you feel like you can’t escape the pain you’re feeling all the time. There are several different reasons you may be experiencing back pain (and especially chronic low back pain), so let’s take some time to identify them and learn what you can do to really overcome your back pain fast.
- Poor posture. Poor posture is arguably the most common cause of back pain and neck pain. Most websites that list the detrimental results of poor posture actually list back pain to be the number one symptom of poor posture, so if your body is screaming at you by making you feel incredibly uncomfortable at work, it might be time to change the way you’re sitting. In fact, a tight lower back can affect nearly all the muscles in your back, including your hamstrings, and if left unchecked, may even lead to more serious side effects like problems with your sciatica.
- Poorly designed chairs: The vast majority of office chairs are not designed with good ergonomics in mind. If you work in an office that allows you to provide your own chair, do yourself and your back a favor by finding a product that was designed specifically with ergonomics in mind: get something that will make you feel better.
- Sitting in one position: If you sit in one place for a long period of time, be it your car, a plane, or your chair, you need to make sure that you are adjusting your posture often. Make sure that you sit properly, with your ankles forward of your knees and your back slightly reclined, and make sure that if you work in front of a computer that your screens are at an optimal height for your viewing comfort. Every once in a while, make sure you adjust your sitting position to give your muscles a chance to move without cramping up.
- Strain: If your job is physically demanding, you’ll most likely find yourself straining your muscles and tendons if you are not conscious of how you are lifting or moving things. If you’re moving heavy objects, make sure you lift with your knees, not your back, and make sure that you stretch well beforehand and afterwards. This can also apply if you frequently wear high heels.
- Exercise during your day! Especially if your job requires lots of sitting, make sure that you’re getting up and moving around every once in a while. Take a walk, do some stretching exercises, go outside for a few minutes, and you’ll definitely notice an improvement, in both your physical health condition and your mindfulness. A regular exercise program is one of the most effective home remedies for lower back pain relief. Many people find yoga, in particular, to be extremely helpful, especially positions like child's pose.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the things you can be doing wrong to cause back pain, it’s a good place to start. Keep reading for some ways to relieve your back pain quickly, as well as ways to improve your overall discomfort.
How Can You Relieve Back Pain?
When talking about relief from any condition, you need to make sure that you’re on the same page about what kind of relief you’re looking for. Are you looking for symptomatic relief (just not feeling the symptoms?), or are you actually trying to avoid the cause of the problem?
If you just need immediate, symptomatic relief from back pain, here are a few things to try right off the bat.
- Exercise right away: While it may seem completely counterintuitive to engage in physical activity to fix lower back pain, it actually isn’t. Due to the fact that back pain is often caused by your muscles protesting due to your current posture or activity, doing something that actually stretches those tight muscles and helps you out is a great way to get rid of minor back pain. This can help release muscle tension and act as a natural pain reliever. Relaxation techniques can be useful as well.
- Hot/Cold Therapy: Try using hot/cold treatments as a way to combat back pain. You’ve probably seen several advertisements from companies trying to say that they have the miracle cure to back pain. Some of these products are actually effective, so be willing to try a couple to give yourself your best chance at relief. Alternating between an ice pack or cold pack and a heating pad is one of the most effective methods for soothing your back muscles. Similarly, soaking in hot water and then applying a cooling treatment may be helpful.
- Take minor medication: Ibuprofen can be a great way to get fairly fast relief from any kind of pain at all, and especially muscular pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are your best bet here.
However, if you are looking for more long term relief from back pain in a way that will actually improve your overall health, here are some things to consider:
- Get a better chair! If your office allows you to bring in your own chair, grab one designed with your back in mind. Something with an ergonomic and chiropractic design will probably be the best option for you, as those kinds of chairs have built-in support and padding in very beneficial places.
- If you are unable to get a better chair, look into getting padding that fits into your existing chair. Seat cushions are an excellent addition to any chair, and here at Everlasting Comfort, we are dedicated to providing you with the maximum amount of comfort you can possibly have. Our back cushion pillow provides additional lumbar support that will improve your posture and can help you avoid chronic pain. If you find yourself hunched over your desk due to a bad chair and poor posture, lumbar support can be a great improvement.
- Seat foam can also be a great addition in the form of coccyx cushions that actually go under the seat of your pants. We offer a cushion designed for people who spend long hours sitting down every day, and our memory foam design alleviates serious pain in your tailbone, thighs, legs, and most importantly, your back. The memory foam actually allows you to get the most possible comfort. It’s also heat responsive, meaning it’ll mold to your body, making sure that even if your chair is not designed for you, this cushion will be.
Other Suggestions For Back Pain Relief
Even if you try all the suggestions above, you may not be finding relief from back pain the way that you want to. Some people struggle with issues that a seat cushion might not solve, so let’s explore some additional solutions for relief from the back pain you experience regularly.
- Maximize your posture and position yourself. Make sure that you adjust your seating position and make sure that your spine is angled properly. This involves sitting almost straight up but with a slight backward angle to your spine. Keep your legs uncrossed and make sure your ankles are forward.
- Your back pain may not be a result of how you sit, it can also be a function of how you sleep, how you walk, and even the shoes you walk around in.
- Sleep posture matters! Make sure that you sleep correctly, with the best possible posture being one that does not have you sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your back actually offers the most health benefits and protects your spine from the most negative effects.
- Walk with posture in mind. Make sure you aren’t slouching in order to keep your spine from compressing and causing muscle or nerve damage.
- Try new shoes! If you change all of the above and you’re still in pain, try a new pair of shoes, especially ones with extra padding in the sole.
- If all of the above fails, you may have to speak to a doctor. There are times where back pain can be a signal for something much worse, like chronic pain. Pillows, chairs, and posture improvements can really only go so far, so you need to make sure to consult a healthcare professional for medical advice if nothing improves after making as many changes as you have. You may need physical therapy or a more intensive medication than over-the-counter painkillers.
Back pain can be one of the most crippling factors to any workday, and if you struggle with back pain regularly, there are steps you need to take right away to avoid permanent damage. Once you have improved your posture on your own, focus on improving your chair with our seat cushion products.
Finally, keep in mind that other factors can be causing back pain as well, such as poor sleep posture. We spend roughly a third of our lives in bed, if not more, and so it’s important to make sure that just like you should be conscious of your posture while at work, you should be conscious of your posture while you are sleeping as well.