Back pain at your desk? Tips for fighting neck and back pain when sitting

February 23, 2017

I heard a statistic that, on average, Britons spend around 9 hours a day sat down. This includes at your work desk, sat on the train, in your car or watching the tele. That is A LOT of inactivity. 


We've said it before in previous blogs, but 'motion is lotion'. At Alpha Health we feel that movement and being active is the key to a healthy lifestyle. This doesn't just mean going to the gym, running, hiking etc. We feel even getting up and moving about makes a massive difference to your health. 






So here are a few pieces of advice to try and help keep you moving during the day.


1. Create a simple routine of stretches you can do when sat down


You don't have to reinvent the wheel with these. Make sure you target your neck, upper & lower back, chest and shoulders. Do this routine 2 or 3 x a day at your desk, or if your in a car do them as and when you can obviously when it is safe to do so!


Things you could include in your routine are;

  • Bending your neck side to side, looking up and down and looking over each shoulder

  • Pinching you shoulder blades together

  • Reaching out in front of you and up above your head

  • Opening out your chest by putting your hands on your head

  • Twisting your whole body side to side


2. Set reminders on your phone


This will help keep you on top of doing the routine of stretches mentioned above. Nearly everyone has a smart phone, with the capacity to set a reminders. Even if you don't, you can set alarms for regular intervals to remind yourself to get up and walk around or do your stretches.


It is thought that standing up moving around 16 times a day for 2 minutes is better than exercising for 32 minutes straight....



3. Check your posture


Use a reminder on your phone or just try and remember to check your sitting posture every 30 minutes. This will help build a positive habit of preventing slouching or 'bad' posture. 


This is a tip more office based workers, but you can do it in the car as well. But another good way to check posture is to get a friend, colleague or family member to take a photo of you sitting so that you can see if you are slouching. 



4. Make sure your desk is set up properly


Making sure that your desk is set up properly can help reduce excessive strain being placed on your body. Having your chair, desk, keyboard and screen all set up correctly can have a big effect on reducing the risk of back or neck pain when sitting. 


A great blog written by Holly Siddall gives you all you need to know about setting up your desk to reduce the risk of injury. 



5. Give yourself an excuse to move!


This is a simple one to achieve and will get you up and moving frequently. You can give yourself an excuse to move in a number of ways;

  • Use a printer that's further away from your desk so you have to get up and walk further

  • Use a smaller water bottle so you have to get up and walk to refill it more often

  • Go outside for lunch to take a break from being sat in your office

  • Take the stairs and not the lift

Small changes will make a big difference. I know the tips above might not be achievable for all of you, but they are just some ideas that hopefully you can take inspiration from. 



Give these tips ago and let us know how you get on!

If you need some advice or would like to book an appointment then give us a call on 020 8304 7237



Below is a nice infographic from Funders & Founders highlighting health risks associated with being stationary for prolonged periods of time. See the full article here.




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