We have all been there, sitting at our desks, in front of a computer for countless hours, staring at the screen; often times we are hunched over in an unfamiliar position. In fact…I am doing the same as I write this article. It is not uncommon for us to feel back pain, after all I don’t believe we were designed to sit at a computer all day. Even as a coach I find myself at my desk for a large portion of my day. This has led to fatigue and soreness.
Back pain is so common in fact that, “researchers say about 90 percent of adults will experience low back pain in their lifetime and 10 percent of those people will develop chronic pain and disability,” (Baidya 2013). That’s a big percentage of people experiencing some very common pains.
Whether you are an ex elite level athlete, a recreational sport enthusiast or just experiencing back pain from your daily routine, there are several common causes of your back pain and a few simple things that can help give you relief.
What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
- A large percentage of lower back pain can be due to movement and posture, however sitting all day can also be detrimental to your back.
- You may have a weak core. I know you’re thinking six pack abs, but that is not necessary to relieve your pain. Some simple exercises can help in your daily routine.
- You may not realize it, but your sleeping position may cause you problems as well. Sleeping on your stomach can cause lower back pain by putting pressure on your muscles and joints.
- Finally, muscle and ligament strain is a common cause of your back pain. Repeated heavy lifting or jerking motions can cause back strains.
What Can You Do to Relieve Your Pain
- If you find yourself sitting for extended hours at your desk, follow a few easy steps to help prevent and relive your pain. First make sure your screen and chair are set up so the screen is at eye level. Second, make sure your chair has lumbar support, found here. Third, a few quick exercises can relieve your pain as well. Try to hold your head for seven to ten second in the following positions, forward, back, and each side. Do this a few times a day.
- Weak core? Sit ups aren’t the only way to help strengthen your core and relieve some of your pains. Try to twist slowly at your desk, and add in a few lunges when you have time.
- Stomach sleeper? See if you can work on sleeping on your side. “Sleeping on one’s side with the knees drawn up in a fetal position can help open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure by reducing the curvature of the spine,” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2015).
- If you must lift heavy objects lift from the knees, keep your head down and in line with a straight back, keep the objects close to the body and try not to twist when lifting.
Your back pain is an all too common problem and you’re not alone in your experience. However, try to be as preventive as possible and you will find some relief over time.
~Sean Hogan has coached hockey at the international and collegiate levels for over ten years. He has spoken at numerous events about culture building, goal setting and healthy lifestyles. He holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Recreation and Sports Science with an emphasis on Coaching Education from OHIO University.
Baidya, A. (2013, August 19). OU Researchers Conducting Long-Term Study On Lower Back Pain. Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://woub.org/2013/08/19/ou-researchers-conducting-long-term-study-lower-back-pain/
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. (2015, November 3). Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm#3102_9