We recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Jason Hare questions about the reasons behind back pain while working in an office. While it seems that a laborious job would likely cause these symptoms, it may be more of how you do your job than what you do for a work.
Q What are some of the reasons people working desk jobs get
A The biggest reason is that there is more pressure upon the spine. Reseach studies have been done and, perhaps counter intuitively, there is more pressure placed upon your discs when sitting as opposed to standing. This is thought to be down to muscular support. When standing, your muscles contract to support the spine. When we sit, we relax those same muscles, forcing your joints to take on more physical stress.
Another reason is that we lose strength to the back. If you sit for 8 hours a day, the muscles lose conditioning. Again, this means less support and stability.
Finally, when sitting all day, we tend to take on poor posture. I think this one is self explanatory. We aren’t made of glass and will fall apart if sitting poorly for a few minutes, but if you do so all day long it will catch up with you in the end.
Q What are some things a person working in a desk job can do to
prevent back pain?
A First and foremost, get up! I tell all my patients, whether they are having back pain or not, that they must get up a minimum of one an hour. I’d prefer it if it was every 20 or 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to be a long break, just do a lap of the office, get a drink of water, whatever. Can’t get away from the phone? Stand up when you answer the phone. It’ll make you look super busy to your colleagues!
Secondly, a fit person is less likely to have spinal issues. Try to bring an exercise routine into your personal life. Start small. Even a 20 minute walk three times a week will do the spine good.
Q Can you give me an example of one thing that is supposed to
be good for your back while working at a desk job, but can
actually cause problems?
A A common thing I see is that people force a good posture. We shouldn’t sit bolt upright in a militant posture for an 8 hour work day. I guarantee you will have an aching back at the end of the day. If you spend any time with me you will see me cross my legs, lean on an armrest and, yes, even slouch. A variable posture that is mostly good is better than prolonged good posture.
Q What is a common misconception people have about visiting a
A One common misconception, is that the chiropractor will rack your bones. Yes, spinal realignment techniques can give you a cracking or popping sound within your joint. That method is very well established and is incredibly effective. However, there are newer techniques that use a gentler force and you never hear the sounds. It’s a great alternative for the nervous patient.
Q What is one thing someone must consider before treating
themselves for back pain?
A One person’s back pain is not necessarily the same as another. Don’t assume what worked for your friend or colleague will work for you. There are many different reasons for having back problems. First you figure out what is wrong, then you can develop a treatment plan. This is something that your chiropractor can help you with.
To learn more about Dr. Jason Hare visit purechiro.ca.