You Might Want to Sit Down for This: How RDHs Can Relieve Back Pain
Back pain. Nothing feels quite like it – literally and figuratively. it might not be something you notice for days, weeks, or even months. But once it hits you, it’ll stick around like a leech, making it hard to focus, move around, or simply enjoy a day at the office. It impacts how you live your life.
Many of us love the little sanctuary of our office space, but we can’t have a productive environment if we aren’t comfortable. So, to put a halt to our impending back pain once and for all, we have to target it before it gets really bad, and even if it does, try to make it just a little more bearable.
Ergonomics and back pain are a common topic in the dental industry because of how we move and sit in furniture like loupes and saddle chairs. Let’s talk about some quick tips to relieve back pain while on the job.
Be conscious of how you’re sitting
At this moment, take notice of how you’re sitting. Are you sitting upright at a 90-degree angle or hunched over your keyboard, legs curled up like a pretzel? Chances are you’re the latter, and while we’re not here to judge, we’re here to remind you that your body might not love that in a few months. The more you let your body fold and twist as you work, the more it will become a habit and the harder it’ll be to break.
Remind yourself periodically, whether it’s with 10-minute check-ins or a post-it on your desk, to consciously position yourself in ways that your body will thank you for later.
Get yourself a chair you love
AIt may seem simple, but the type of chair you use can make an enormous difference in your workspace. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy; after all, a chair is a chair. But you want to make sure it has lumbar support (or an added pillow), positions your feet flat and your knees at 90-degrees, and lets you lower the armrests so your shoulders stay low. Also, keeping your computer at arm’s length will let you sit back instead of hunch over your desk.
Move…even when you don’t think you need to
Even with that perfect chair and right-angle posture, that back pain leech can still be hard to escape. If you’ve ever taken red-eye, you know that your body will feel like an old floorboard afterward- clicking and cracking for days afterward.
Well, it’s not too different when you spend your 9-5 glued to a chair, with only a couple of water or snack breaks.
Try getting up for a quick walk or stretch every 30 minutes or so. For those of us who glue our eyes to a screen for hours on end, the idea of a break might be a little daunting. But, we can promise you that a 2-3 minute break every 30 minutes will do you more harm than good. Not only will it clear your head and reset your focus, but it’ll almost guarantee that you won’t feel so stiff at the end of your shift.
Of course, everyone’s back pain comes from different sources, so no one can promise a permanent cure to all types. What we can promise is that with these 3 tips, you might be able to think about it just a little less and enjoy your job just a little more.
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