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Image / Editorial

Here’s how to actively fix your bad ‘office’ back


by Niamh ODonoghue
12th Apr 2018
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So many of us will experience some form of back pain in our lives and, in a world where the average office worker sits down for 8 to 10 hours a day, it’s really not surprising. When pain strikes, it can often be too late to undo the damage, which is why it’s important to pay heed and take the necessary steps to stop it. Set your spine straight with these easy tricks to help alleviate back ache.

Get support

Not the late-night-best-friend-and-wine kind of emotional support, but a supportive cushion to help affirm your posture throughout the day and alleviate aches. Starting from €25, Amazon has a huge range of orthopaedic-designed cushion in all shapes and sizes and are a good short-term solution for upper and lower back pain. If you’re unsure what type suits you best, book an appointment with a physio or GP. This online forum is also helpful for tips and advice.

Ditch skinny jeans

A report from the British Chiropractic Association found last year found that skinny jeans are doing as much damage to our spines as high heels. Speaking to Vogue, Tim Hutchful, a chiropractor at BHA, explained that skinny jeans are a problem because they “restrict free movement in areas such as the hips and knees, affecting the way we hold our bodies.” As posture is a big contributing factor to back pain, super-tight denim could easily contribute to issues over time — especially if you wear your skinnies every day. As an alternative, try these comfortable wide ruffle tuxedo stripe culottes from & Other Stories, below. You’ll have plenty of room to manoeuvre and wide-legged pants are totally on trend.

Ruffle tuxedo stripe culottes, €79 at &OtherStories

Ditch the heels too

New evidence by Stanford University suggests women could be causing significant damage to their bones and joints; leading to painful osteoarthritis. Researchers have found that every time a woman puts on a pair of stilettos, she is putting dangerous levels of strain on her joints. And for women who are overweight, the damage is even worse. The report says that the higher the heel the more unnatural bend the knee will experience when walking – increasing the strain on the knee joint. If you need some more persuasion to ditch the additional height, check out these chic flat shoes for inspiration.

Grab a yoga mat and engage in the 90-90 position

We know how important it is to move throughout the day and stand where possible, but equally, it’s important to stretch. Stretching on the regular can help keep muscles and joints flexible, and also gives your spine a break by taking the weight off your feet and shoulders. The 90/90 position was designed to provide instant relief from pain for discomfort. The key is to keep the legs bent at a 90-degree angle at the hip and knee joints. The knees and the ankles should be aligned with the hips. Once in the correct position, gravity goes to work. Why not encourage your colleagues to bring their yoga mats with them and start a lunchtime stretch and relaxation class?

Sleep with an extra pillow…but, not for your head

The key is to use a pillow to fill in any gaps between your body and the mattress and to keep your neck, spine and pelvis in line. For side-sleepers; sleeping with a pillow between your knees will keep your upper leg from taking your spine out of alignment, and reduce any stress on your lower back. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, place the pillow under your stomach/pelvic area to achieve the same result. Many of us change positions during the night so it might take a few nights to find a position that’s most comfortable for you.

Try these at-your-desk workouts

The Poynton Spinecare Institute, located in Dorset Street, Dublin 1, has created two informative graphics to help you keep your posture straight and pain-free, so save them to your phone and try them next time you need a five-minute shake-up.

 

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