You’ve experienced it before

Does the shooting pain in your lower back, your tight shoulder muscles and stiff neck get worse as you try to meet an urgent deadline? Back pain in the workplace is common and shouldn’t be ignored. Fortunately, there are exercises you can do to help ease your back pain and steps you can take to protect your back at work.

Did you know?

Back pain is the number one work-related injury. Hunching over a computer is one of the main reasons that four out of five women, in particular, end up with back pain at some point in their lives.

Work-related back pain is often a sign that either your environment or your posture and movements should change. Age, desk setup, stress load and the type of manual tasks you engage in all play a huge role in your back health.  Here are some exercises/stretches to help ease your back pain and steps you can take to improve your setup to protect your back at work.

Exercises/Stretches to help ease your back pain at work

  • Straighten up –

Standing tall, feet together, align your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
Pull your belly button in towards your spine.

  • Twist and sway –

Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart and gently rotate your core from side to side.
Let your arms flop loosely and shift your weight from knee to knee, breathing calmly for 15 seconds.

  • Shake it out –

Shake limbs loosely for 15 seconds on each side.


Protect your back at work

Here are some ways to reduce the risk of back and neck pain:

  • Sit within reach –
    Your torso should be about an arm’s length away from the monitor, which should be 2 to 3 inches above eye level.
  • Pick the right chair –
    Pick an adjustable chair that allows your lower back to rest against a lumbar support. Then tilt the back of the chair so it’s very slightly reclined.
  • Keep your mouse close –
    Ideally, it should be placed right next to your keyboard, so you don’t overreach or twist your shoulder, arm, or wrist when clicking.
  • Take breaks –
    No deadline is worth an injury. Getting up at least once an hour—to go to the bathroom or just do some shoulder rolls—reduces pressure on spinal disks and boosts circulation. Payoff: you’ll be more limber and less stressed.

If you do experience pain, consult a health care professional, such as a chiropractor, to assess your specific needs and identify a course of action that’s right for you. Chiropractors are committed to helping you be more physically active. A chiropractor can evaluate your strength and flexibility, as well as screen for anything that may limit your physical activities. Ask your chiropractor for an evaluation.

To find a chiropractor near you, use the chiropractor locator on our website. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional. If you already have a chiropractor and/or another health care professional, join our Partnership4BetterHealth online patient advisory community. Then, you can share your ideas on how to enhance chiropractic services and make a positive impact on our health care system. It’s confidential, free, and always your choice to participate.