Low back pain – also called lumbar pain – is often due to inactivity, poor posture, improper lifting, degenerative spine conditions, or arthritis in the back. If you have been working from home, whether because of the pandemic or because you prefer to work from home, then you are at a higher risk of developing lower back pain than are those who work in a professional office environment.
That is largely because home-based workers are not as likely to spend money on ergonomics. After all, you still use that perfectly good chair you bought 25 years ago, or the nice leather office chair from your Dad, right?
We have made considerable progress in the area of ergonomic office design over the past couple of decades. Let’s talk about how to minimize or prevent lumbar pain by making a few adjustments to your home workplace and your daily routine, and where you can go for orthopedic treatment that results in long-lasting relief from your back pain.
Your desk, work chair, mouse, and other factors can lead to neck and back pain. It is important to not have to lean forward to see your computer screen and keyboard; the back of your chair should provide lumbar support so that you can sit up straight and not be in a hunched position. When you are in a slumped posture, your back has to work extra hard to support your head, which is very heavy – about 10 pounds.
Good ergonomics can also help to reduce repetitive-strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or rotator cuff tears. You want to maintain the natural curve of your spine, so keep your chest out and your head up, tighten the abdominal muscles, and keep your knees bent and your feet slightly apart.
You cannot do this with a poor setup – such as working on your bed. Invest in a quality office chair with lumbar support, and a desk that puts your laptop or computer screen at eye level or a bit lower.
Prolonged sitting is unnatural and can diminish the elasticity of the soft tissues in the back. For this reason, remind yourself to get up, stand, stretch, and walk around at least once every hour.
Incorporate these breaks into your work schedule for the sake of your lower back, your musculoskeletal health, and your overall health. Doing so will help to keep lumbar pain at bay.
Take an Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever
Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, can help to reduce occasional lumbar pain. However, taking these medicines long-term is bad for the gastrointestinal tract and liver, so be sure to take these only on a limited basis. Talk to your orthopedic doctor about long-term ways to alleviate your lumbar pain.
If your lower back pain persists, see an orthopedic doctor for an evaluation and treatment. Here at Watauga Orthopaedics, we have a special SpineCare division for treating patients who have back problems. Our goal is to relieve your lumbar pain so you can get back to enjoying life.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our SpineCare specialists, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (423) 282-9011 or by filling out our self-scheduling form. We look forward to seeing you here!