Q: Why would a desk job be causing so much back pain? I don’t ever have to lift anything, yet my back hurts daily.
A: You don’t have to be an ironworker to put stress on your back. Working in a relatively sedentary job in an office poses its own set of potential problems. Although workers in some manually intensive fields may be at greater risk for accidents on the job, they may not be at as much risk for back pain. A strikingly large number of people that come to a chiropractor’s office for back pain do so because of a sedentary type of daily work stress.
Because laborers and others who work in physically demanding jobs are more active, their bodies generally respond better and recover faster from a muscle strain. Long hours of sitting at a desk, particularly if you’re sitting in a hunched-over position, can put plenty of stress on a person’s back. Throw in a long commute behind the wheel of a car at the beginning and end of the day, and you’ve compounded the problem of the sedentary worker. Our bodies were simply not created or designed to be in a chair for such long periods of time.
To feel better, one needs to commit to the treatment plan of physical medicine that is required to make real changes in the body’s structure and function. This can take multiple treatments over weeks sometimes, even if the pain is mild. The most important part of the treatment, long term, however is to understand your body better and learn how to manage it through proper strength, posture and stretch…. Then actually practicing it regularly. A treatment of chiropractic should include this type of education since you are going to go right back to the desk – the source of the problem – and stress it over and over. Think of the chiropractor as undoing the stress that builds over time from the desk. It will need to happen at some frequency for as long as you are doing that job unless you are very faithful with taking care of yourself.
In addition, some studies have shown that office workers, as a group, are less likely to seek help for back pain because they believe the discomfort is just part of the job. One tip to remember if you spend a lot of time sitting on the job: Most studies agree that sitting erect puts considerable strain on the back. Adjust your chair so that you’re leaning back at an angle of at least 110 degrees. Talk with a chiropractor about ways to protect yourself at work.
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