Back Problems from Sitting Too Much? (Fixes for Desk Workers)

Back Problems from Sitting Too Much? (Fixes for Desk Workers)

Chiropractic Towson MD Office Workers

If you have a job where you sit at a desk for 8 hours per day you may think that you couldn't possibly be doing your body any harm because, after all, you're just sitting. Even though they don't seem strenuous, desk jobs where you're "just sitting" all day can wreak havoc on your body. The symptoms that many of our patients who work desk jobs face include lower back pain, wrist pain, reduced mobility in their neck, Dowager's hump, tight and painful neck muscles, and even headaches.

Before you throw in the towel and change jobs you should know that there are many things you can do to reduce these symptoms. There are even specific chiropractic adjustments designed for sitting desk workers like yourself.

Common Back Problems From Sitting Too Much

According to UCLA Health, "sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain, cause increased stress of the back, neck, arms, and legs and can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Additionally, sitting in a slouched position can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs."

Our bodies are built to stand and move throughout the day. When you stand upright, you put the discs in your lower back into proper alignment naturally. Sitting, on the other hand, forces the vertebrae to compress down onto each other and withstand more force, increasing the risk of chronic lower back pain. The muscles that hold these discs in place can atrophy when not used and this leaves the nerves between the discs in a vulnerable position.

Even though sitting can feel comfortable and relaxed in the moment, it puts a lot of stress on your nerves. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can result in pinched and strained nerves that radiate pain throughout your body. It can also put a lot of weight and stress on your cervical spine and neck muscles if you're not sitting properly.

You may start the day sitting with perfect posture but as your day goes on your posture likely shifts forward as you're working at your desk which is a recipe for Dowager's hump. When you begin to slouch and curve your spine as you jut your head forward you're effectively putting an 11lb weight directly on the neck muscles that support your head instead of allowing your whole spine to carry the weight for you.

Solutions To Back Problems/Back Pain From Sitting

You've probably heard that "sitting is killing us" but that's an oversimplification and a bit of an exaggeration. Several studies have found that back pain from sitting is a result of sitting for prolonged, uninterrupted periods of time, not just simply from sitting. There are some simple things you can do to improve your work environment and prevent back pain and back problems from sitting at your job.

1. Adjust Your Position Frequently

This study showed that lumbar disc issues could be mitigated by simply changing position every 15-30 minutes. Stand up while you're making a phone call or talking to a colleague. Head to the kitchen for a new cup of coffee and a stretch. Take a walk around the office for a few minutes. Do anything you can to adjust your position and move your body. Set an alarm on your phone to vibrate every 15-30 minutes to remind you to stand up, walk around, or stretch. This small change can help prevent back pain and back problems.

2. Observe Your Posture

Are you sitting slumped forward in your chair? Are your arms parallel to the ground when typing or are you reaching for your keyboard? Is your head protruding forward beyond its normal position resting atop your spine? If your posture is incorrect, you increase your risk of lower back and neck pain as well as Dowager's hump. You can't begin to correct these posture issues until you become aware of them so start paying attention to how you're sitting so you can correct it. UCLA Health has some specific guidelines you can use to make sure your workspace is set up to prevent, not cause, back and neck pain.

3. Make Changes To Your Workspace

Adjust the height of your chair so that it is at a height where you can sit with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back. You want to sit tall with your forearms parallel to the ground or lower meaning you shouldn't need to shrug your shoulders or reach up to use your keyboard. You don't need a full-on standing desk to have an ergonomically correct workspace and these simple changes make a big difference.

If you're working from a laptop you're almost certainly sitting in a position where you are leaning forward. You can fix this by propping your laptop up on a stand or even a few books. Try picking up an external keyboard for your laptop so that you can have your display higher without having to reach up to your keyboard.

4. Stretch

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is "I sit at a desk all day and I know I have poor posture but what can I do to reduce my hunchback?" In this post, we share 3 very simple stretches that will help strengthen the muscles surrounding your thoracic spine and bring your head back into proper alignment.

Pay attention to the muscles that tend to get tight after sitting all day. If your hips feel tight, make sure you stretch those throughout the day. If you have your own office or a private space where you can get into an odd position for just 30 seconds you can do this mobility stretch. Your stretches don't have to be anything complex. The goal is simply to move and utilize your muscles throughout the day.

5. Get Regular Chiropractic Adjustments

Sitting is a must for many modern jobs and that isn't likely to change. There are many things you can adjust in your posture and your workspace but none of those things relieve pain as quickly as a chiropractic adjustment. Even if you're not in pain, poor posture can cause a slew of additional symptoms including:

  • Headaches
  • Sinus pressure
  • Tightness in the neck
  • Tingling in the arm, fingers, or leg
  • Frozen shoulder/loss of function in the shoulder
  • Tightness in the trapezius area
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies

When the joints in your spine are compressed or the muscles around your spine are not functioning properly, you may not experience pain but you may experience symptoms like these. Just like our spine connects everything in our body, many non-painful symptoms are connected to the spine.

Our chiropractors have a wide range of adjustments at their disposal that they can use to give you relief from your symptoms. Do you have back pain or back problems from sitting too much? Click here to schedule your appointment!




7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm

Saturday & Sunday

Kalkstein Chiropractic

200 E Joppa Rd #300
Towson, MD 21286

(410) 296-7700