Sitting for prolonged periods of time puts about 40% more pressure on the discs in your lower back than standing. That pressure soars to almost 90% if you’re slouching. Sitting also chokes off the flow of blood and other nutrients to your spinal discs, which can affect your movement and overall back health.
SIMPLE WAYS TO STAND UP MORE
- Set an alarm: Set an alarm on your Google calendar that reminds you to stand up every hour. Visit the water cooler, look out the window while you stretch or simply take a walk around the office.
- Take meetings and phone calls standing up: The moment your phone rings, stand up and answer it. Stay standing throughout the phone call if you can. Do the same with meetings with colleagues.
- Build a walking break (or two, or three) into your daily routine: Studies suggest that regularly walking can provide great relief from back pain. Saunter around the block or take the stairs when traveling to different floors of the office. Walks are great for circulation and they have the added bonus of stimulating creativity.
- Drink lots of water: It will ensure that you need frequent bathroom breaks, which will force you to get up more often. And staying hydrated is a potential pain reliever. (More on that next week.)
- Buy a fitness tracker: Fitness trackers are great reminders to get walking. Set a reasonable goal (usually 10-15,000 steps per day). The simple fact that you have the tracker on you should motivate you to check it periodically — and get to stepping if you’re under your goal.
- During your workday, alternate between sitting and standing: If you can afford it, invest in a sit-stand device. Structure your day so that half of your working hours are spent sitting, and half are spent standing. (Try and avoid standing all day since that also can create problems for your back and spine.)
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAND FOR BACK PAIN RELIEF
There is no simple prescription for how much to stand, although any number that exceeds what you’re doing now is great.
In a study that measured the back pain relief of workers who used sit-stand desks, 66 minutes was enough to reduce back and neck pain by 54%, and improve mood. (That’s only about 8 minutes per hour.) An Australian study had similar results: Standing more made workers feel less fatigued and irritable, more focused and they had 32% fewer musculoskeletal problems.
So stand up. Start now and repeat as often as you can during your day.
Already tried everything (including standing more) but still feeling tremendous back pain? Contact us online or give us a call and we will be happy to help.