Office Work-Related Back Pain

If you work in an office, you likely have experienced back pain at some time or another. Working in the same position for hours can cause neck stiffness and tension in the shoulders or back. However, it is possible to work at an office without neck and back pain. Some tips that can help prevent back pain while working in an office include:

  • Invest in a standing desk
    A standing desk helps keep your back in optimal alignment as you work. This desk keeps the computer at the same level as your eyes – avoiding look down and ultimately straining your neck and back. With a standing desk, you can place your forearms on top of the desk. This improves your posture and places less tension on your lower back.
  • Practice good posture
    Daily exercise is important to promoting healthy posture. Yoga, stability cushions, strength training, and sitting on a yoga ball are all great ways to strengthen your core and develop healthy posture habits. Keep the computer screen at eye level and focus on keeping your shoulders down and back. Avoid rounding your upper back.
  • Set up the office chair correctly
    If you cannot work while standing, setting up the office chair correctly can help maintain good posture. Make sure you sit close to the desk and keep your upper arms parallel to your hands and spine. Look for a chair with an armrest. If you are tall, you should raise your work surface. Also, as you sit, press the buttocks against the back of the chair. This prevents you from slouching and placing unnecessary stress on your lower back.
  • Stretch regularly
    Sitting at a desk for long hours may cause tight muscles and strain on the lower back. Try to remember to move or stretch every hour or so. Taking breaks to refill your coffee, visit the restroom, or speak to your colleague in person rather than sending an email are a few practical ways to ‘take breaks’ while at work.
  • Wear comfortable shoes
    Supportive shoes are critical to reducing strain on the lower back. High heels can change the center of gravity of your body, creating strain on the lower back. If you wear high heels to work, consider having a pair of shoes at your desk that you change into when not walking around or in meetings.

It can be tough to remember to take care of your back while at work. By implementing a few of the tips above, you can help prevent or improve lower back pain caused by long days in the office.


Dallas Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
Dr Michael R Wheeler, MD
Orthopedic Spine Specialist Procedures