How to Relieve Upper Back Pain at Work
An estimated 86 percent of American workers sit all day in an office setting for their job (U.S. News). While there are a number of adverse health effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time, including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and certain types of cancer, one of the most common immediate complaints from office workers is chronic back pain.
Many of us have developed bad habits in the office, from never taking a break to slouching over our computer screens. Over time, these bad habits can give way to chronic back pain and inflammation, which, in turn, can lead to a whole slew of other health problems.
If you’re having trouble with upper back pain relief because of the number of hours that your job requires you to sit at a desk, keep these 12 useful tips in mind to help find upper back pain relief and improve your overall health and wellness.
1. Keep a Bottle of Enduras Handy
First things first, if you’re currently relying on a bottle of aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain medications just to get through the workday, you need to find a safer and more effective solution. Long-term use of painkillers has been shown to cause a variety of serious health problems, including an increased risk of heart attack, liver damage, and even hearing loss (Time Magazine).
Instead of putting yourself at risk for these complications, try keeping a bottle of Enduras Recovery Cream in your desk for fast-acting relief from symptoms of upper back pain and other aches and pains. Enduras is a naturally-derived topical anti-inflammatory cream that contains essential micronutrients like vitamins A, C, and E to help ease inflammation and relieve pain and stiffness without scary side effects.
2. Eliminate Poor Posture to Relieve Upper Back Pain
One of the worst things you can do for your upper back while at work is to sit or stand with poor posture all day long. Pay attention to the way that you’re sitting at your desk. Do you tend to slouch forward in your chair to see your computer screen? Are your legs crossed? When you stand, do you bear your weight evenly on both feet, or rest on just one?
Consequences of these poor posture habits can quickly add up and contribute to upper back pain. Try to make a conscious effort to improve your posture while at work. Here are some key tips:
- Sit straight in your chair, with your feet flat on the ground.
- Don’t cross your legs.
- Sit with a small gap between the front of your chair and the back of your knees.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed.
3. Upgrade Your Office Chair
If you find that it’s difficult to sit with proper posture because of the way your office chair is designed, it could be well worth the investment to upgrade to a chair with an ergonomic design. Look for chairs that have a slightly forward curve where your lower back would rest to provide adequate lumbar support. You can also place a rolled towel or pillow at your lower back to help make your current chair more comfortable.
4. Keep Your Shoulders Low
Another aspect of your desk and chair that can affect your posture is how high they are relative to your shoulders. If you notice that when you sit at your desk, your shoulders are jammed upwards towards your ears and not resting relaxed, you may need to adjust the height of your desk or chair, or remove your armrests.
5. Consider Using a Standing Desk
Standing workstations are all the rage right now, and for good reason. The human body simply wasn’t designed to sit for hours on end, day after day. So switching to a standing desk, or even a convertible sit-to-stand desk, can help to reduce back and other joint-related pain, improve blood circulation, and even boost productivity (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society).
Some people even use a treadmill desk or a bike desk to keep them moving while they work.
6. Get up and Move
Even if you’re not into walking on a treadmill while you work, you should at least give yourself several breaks throughout the day to get up and move around. Take a walk around the block or even around your office building to improve your blood flow and to loosen your muscles and joints.
Experts recommend taking at least one small break every hour, whether it’s just to get a glass of water or use the restroom. Just the act of getting up out of your chair and moving around can make a big difference in the way your body feels and functions.
7. Take a Stretch Break
Don’t underestimate the power of stretching, either. Even if you work in a small cubicle or in a home office where you don’t have lots of room to move around, you can still get up out of your seat and stretch your back to help relieve pain and stiffness.
If you struggle with lower back pain, try standing up and gently bending forward to touch your toes. Hold this position for several seconds before coming back up to standing and then repeating.
Take a look at these stretches to help relieve knee pain if that is also a concern for you.
8. Use a Headset for Your Phone
Are you guilty of resting your phone between your ear and shoulder while at work? This can put pressure on your shoulder, neck, and spine and result in pain and soreness. If you use the phone frequently throughout the day, consider getting a comfortable headset to wear so that your hands can be free while talking on the phone.
Otherwise, try to switch the phone from your right to left hands during long phone calls and avoid using your shoulder as a prop for your phone.
9. Adjust Your Monitor
Another common mistake that many people make at their desks that can contribute to upper back pain is craning their necks downward in order to see their computer screen, use their tablet, or check their smartphone. This results in poor posture and can negatively affect your neck, shoulders, and spine.
One easy way for upper back pain relief is to adjust the height of your monitor so that you can look at the screen straight ahead, keeping your neck in proper alignment. To help keep yourself from slouching forward to see your screen, you might consider getting a bigger monitor or using the zoom feature on your computer to make the text larger.
10. Practice Breathing Exercises
Certain breathing exercises have been shown to help alleviate back pain. Start by sitting straight up in your chair, with your feet planted flat on the ground. Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale through your mouth. Next, inhale through your nose again, this time for four counts. Before exhaling, hold your breath for seven counts. Then exhale through your mouth for eight counts (Prevention).
These types of exercises can help you to engage your core, open up your shoulders, and relax your muscles–all of which helps to reduce upper back pain and lower back pain.
11. Lift with Your Knees, Not Your Back
Anytime you need to lift a heavy object, whether that’s office furniture or a box of paper, make sure you always squat with your knees to lift upward, rather than bending over from standing and using your back to lift.
12. Strengthen Your Core
Your core, or abdominal muscles, are what provide support to your back. So strengthening these muscles can offer added spine support and, in turn, alleviate pain. Traditional crunches, sit-ups, and balancing on an exercise ball are all great ways to help work your core muscles. Just be sure to do these kinds of exercises on a supportive mat or similar surface so as not to put unnecessary pressure on your spine.
To find upper back pain relief naturally, consider all natural Enduras cream by visiting our shop.
About the Authors
William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.
Dr. Gil Price
Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.