Are you sick of waking up with a big pain in your back? Do you feel like your back pain is getting in the way of your dental work and personal life?
This is more than a small inconvenience to deal with. Back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the entire world, and it’s not something to just ignore. The more you let back pain go on, the higher your chances of getting a serious injury or hindering your overall health.
It’s not like you can just stop examining patients and doing your job, though!
In a perfect world, the correlation between back pain and sitting down wouldn’t be so high. But considering that you have to sit in order to do a basic cleaning or pull out a tooth, you have to get a little more creative about how you deal with back pain at work.
Here are 7 tips to help you keep your back in good condition throughout the day.
1. Walk Around and Stretch
Even if you have a fully-loaded schedule, make sure you squeeze in a few minutes for yourself between seeing each patient. Take the time to walk around the office and stretch your back whenever you can.
Focus on each area of the back as you stretch. Pay special attention to tightness in the neck and shoulders, and be easy on yourself as you release the tension in your lower back.
You may have to do a series of stretches to really let go of all the discomfort you have. Try to do them all at the same time if you can, as this will provide the best possible relief.
2. Pull Your Shoulders Back
If you don’t have as much time to stretch as you’d like, at least pull your shoulders back while sitting with your patients. This may be hard to do when you’re actively working on them, but it’s a simple adjustment you can make when in conversation with patients and while checking their information on the computer.
Other small adjustments that make a big difference include relaxing your jaw and paying close attention to how you hold your neck. Sometimes, the best way to relieve these areas and your shoulders is to pull your shoulders up by your ears then let out a big breath and release them back down.
3. Activate Your Core
Here’s an interesting thought: instead of fixing the symptoms of back pain at work, go straight to the source. One of the biggest causes of back pain is that your lower or upper back is taking on too much work; it’s dealing with more pressure than it can stand throughout the day.
All you have to do to offset this is activate your core and learn more info on fixing your posture. When you wake up your abs as you sit and stand, you’re taking a big amount of pressure off your back. This helps it relax and keeps pain at bay.
4. Do Some Work While Standing
Another way to ease back pain at work is to change how you work. Whenever you have days that you’re in your office and doing paperwork, complete your tasks while standing up.
Switching to a standing desk can do wonders for your back pain. It significantly cuts back on the amount of time that you spend sitting each week and how long you sit for a certain period every day.
5. Invest in a Better Chair
As great as standing desks can be, there are going to be times when you want to sit down. This doesn’t have to be bad for your back, though. All you have to do is invest in a better, more ergonomic chair in which to do your work.
Ergonomic chairs are meant to offset the negative effects of sitting while you work. They come with special padding and offer better support for your back as a whole.
This makes it easier for you to do things like relax your shoulders, activate your core, and curve your pelvis forward. All of these behaviors make your back feel much better, and you don’t even have to think about them when you sit in the right chair.
6. Keep Your Feet Flat on the Ground
Do you have a tendency to cross your legs or your ankles when you sit down? It’s a hard habit to break, but it contributes directly to your back pain. This is especially true if you’re always crossing one leg over the other, which twists your spine.
Try to keep your feet flat on the ground more often. You don’t have to stop crossing your legs completely, although that would be ideal. If you enjoy switching your sitting position, try doing sitting stretches for your hips and lower back. This allows you to change your position in a way that actually helps you fight back pain rather than encourage it.
7. Protect Your Back Outside of Work
At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do to fight back pain at work. For the best results, you also have to make an effort to take better care of your back when you’re not on the clock.
This plays into everything from the positions you sleep in to how you sit on the couch to what kind of activities you do to exercise. If you have particularly intense back pain, for example, you may want to pay closer attention to your form when lifting weights and doing cardio. Putting more of a focus on restorative workouts will do a lot of good for you, too.
Recovering from Back Pain at Work
Speaking of restorative workouts, this is one of the best things to do to recover from the back pain you’ve been experiencing. If you’ve already reached the point of chronic pain, you have to do more than just the tips mentioned above.
It’s worth going to a chiropractor to talk about your back pain at work or at least getting a massage to help undo all the tension you’ve built up. This is just one way that putting more of a focus on self-care will enhance your work and your health as a whole.
For more insights on everything from back pain to exercise and healthy eating, click here!