It's World Diabetes Day! 1...
Working from home has become a new norm due to restricted rules implemented by the government in hope to improve the COVID-19 situation. Classes are also mainly converted online for students and this means increased time spent in front of the computer. When work gets hectic, some people find themselves spending up to 4 to 5 hours in front of their devices without taking a break. Long hours of sitting down makes it hard for us to maintain a good sitting posture and this eventually leads to lower back pain. Bad sitting position can ultimately lead to lower back pain. The pain can present in different forms such as burning or stabbing sensation.
Let’s admit that we do not always maintain a good sitting position when we are not physically present in our usual classroom or office settings. We could be lying on our bed or slouching on the couch while doing work. Some of us may even sit in the position depicted in the picture above. You might even be in that position right now while reading this.
CAUSES OF BACK PAIN :
Bad sitting postures can cause uneven distribution of weight on our spine. For example, constantly bending forward can put stress on the lower intervertebral discs that serve as spongy cushions between the bones in our spines. These discs play a crucial role in making sure the vertebral bodies do not rub against each other. Constant pressure exerted on the discs can cause it to bulge, slip or even rupture!  The medical term of this condition is called herniated disc. Herniated disc can occur anywhere along the length of our spine but it is more commonly observed in our lower back.
Picture from : https://www.physio-network.com/blog/discs-dont-slip-dammit/
Another reason of lower back pain is sciatica. Sciatica occurs when pressure is exerted on sciatic nerves due to slipped intervertebral discs. Long term compression and pinching of the nerves can eventually lead to nerve inflammation. Sciatica is characterized by a sharp pain which originates from the lower back and radiates into our buttocks and legs. The pain is sometimes accompanied by numbness and it usually happens on one side of the legs.
Prolonged hunching forward can also put strain on our back , core or abdominal muscles, causing our back to become strained and painful due to reduced blood supply to the lower back.
IMPROVING YOUR SITTING POSTURE
A bad sitting posture can do so much damage to our spines and muscles. Back pain caused by bad sitting position is definitely evitable with a good sitting posture to maintain normal curves of our spine.
I am sure most of us have been told this by our parents or teachers at one point of your childhood, or even now. The picture depicts three types of curves in our spines and all three curves need to be present while you are sitting up straight on a chair.
Some of us might like to put our feet up on the chair or even on the desks but a good sitting posture requires our feet to be on the ground. This ensures even distribution of body weight across the hips. Do not sit with our legs crossed as this can cause muscle strain and worsen your back pain.
Adjust the monitor screen and make sure the top of your screen is no more than 2 inches above your eye level. Your eyes should look slightly downward about 30 degrees while looking at the screen. To maintain the correct eye level, standing monitor mounts could be used or you could just simply place your monitor on top of a stack of books!
OTHER WAYS TO IMPROVE BACK PAIN
If your chair does not support the lumbar curve of your spine and you do not have a lumbar support, you can consider an ergonomic chair. A good ergonomic chair is adjustable to allow us to put both feet on the ground. The backrest of this chair is designed to support the natural “S” shape of our spine.
If you do not want to spend money on getting a new chair, you can simply roll up your towel and place it between the gap of your lumbar spine and the back rest of your seat. A lumbar back support could also be used to maintain a healthy back curve.
Have a break, have a kitkat! Well, you might not necessarily need to grab some kitkats, you could get up to walk around your house or even do some light stretching exercises to give your body some good stretches and to remove the tension in your muscles. You could even go outside to breathe in some fresh air and I guarantee that you will feel rejuvenated after this and feel ready to get back to your work.
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