Research from The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) in March 2011 found that 51% of the population were suffering from some form of back pain. As the nation goes back to work after the summer break, the steady increase in office/desk based working could be adding to the problem.
Previous research also found that a third of office workers make no adjustments to either seating or computer equipment when switching desks.
There were two other problem areas – sitting too long without a break and carrying heavy computer bags to work.
Tim Hutchful from British Chiropractic Association says: “Whether at work or at home, computers have begun to dominate our lives, yet what we don’t realise is that they in fact have the ability to damage our health. Back pain is becoming quite common and our working lives could be contributing to this. By taking time to adjust your chair and by taking regular breaks can help protect your spine and prevent the onslaught of back pain”.
To help protect your backs at work, the BCA offers some useful tips for us to keep in mind at the start of each working week:
- Make time to check your bag/briefcase each day for items you won’t need. Additional weight in your bag is extra weight that your shoulders and back have to bear.
- Use a rucksack design work bag/laptop case, carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back.
- Take the time to adjust your chair when you start working at a new location.
- Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, your hips slightly higher than your knees and your eyes level with the centre of the computer screen.
- Relax when sitting into your chair, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back and your shoulder blades are touching the back rest of the chair. Arms should be flat and your elbows level with the desk or table you are using. Use a seat with arm rests.
- Take regular breaks. Never sit at the computer for more than 40 minutes; less if possible. When you take a break, walk around and stretch a little.