Back pain does not discriminate.  For office workers, old or young, folks who exercise or not, back pain is an equal opportunity ailment. Eighty percent of Americans experience back pain in their lifetime.  This can have serious implications for even the most dedicated employee’s ability to go to work.  Daily activities in the workplace such as lifting heavy items, sitting in front of a computer, standing in one position for a prolonged period of time, or repetitive motion and strain injuries are the main causes of back pain.  Here are a few simple and effective tips that can help reduce the risk of injury in the workplace:

Think ergonomically.  Use wrist rests, a more ergonomic keyboard, adjustable chair, track ball instead of a mouse, and document holder to elevate materials to eye level.

Be sure your computer monitor sits at eye level and follow the “90-90″ rule by positioning your elbows, hips, knees and ankles in a 90-degree position for healthiest alignment.

Take regular breaks and vary the pace of work.  Change positions frequently and take a short break to stretch or walk around.

Make it a habit to perform back, shoulder, wrist stretches and shoulder shrugs several times a day to prevent body stress and strain.

Adjust your chair to sit with your feet flat on the floor.

If you have a chair without lumbar support, replace it or use a small pillow or tightly rolled towel to relieve pressure on the lower back.  Be sure the towel isn’t too thick that it forces you to lean forward, which creates more strain.

Do not multitask by cradling your telephone receiver between your neck and shoulder because this puts a great deal of strain on your neck muscles.  If you need to have your hands free, try using a headset, or put the caller on speakerphone.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy day!