remedies for "desk back"

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    My back is killing me from sitting at a desk all day. Being in retail I normally have run around all day - but with my boss leaving - I cannot escape the rigors of desk life.:mad:

    Any suggestions on what makes ones back not reel from sitting all day? I have purchased a yoga dvd, and an exercise ball, which I think will help. But I was thinking about purchasing some sort of desk chair that causes me to sit properly?
  2. jal

    jal Member


    I have a desk job too and I find that I never sit correctly. On top of it I have a bad back - disc surgery @ 14 and many herniated (4 more)- resolved through PT. The last time I had a slight injury to my back I took a memory foam pillow from home to sit on. I sit on it to this day and it does help the back. Do I still sit correctly? Not so, but it does help. The memory foam helps the constant shock on the lower spine. Plus when I started the job I got to purchase my own chair. Maybe you can find a posturally correct chair that you can purchase to help your back.

    I think the yoga and exercise ball are great to help strengthen the back, which will help you through the daily rigors of sitting in a chair.
  3. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I find what helps me when I'm sitting at my desk all day is to take a regular size towel (not hand or bath) and roll it up. Tape around it so it stays. Instead of putting across your lumbar area, turn it so it is perpendicular between you and your chair. This forces your whole back to straighten, while giving support and easing some of the pain. I also use an Obus (without the lumbar roll)
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I should tell you that if you are interested in the Obus, try looking on ebay. They are very expensive if you buy them from a back store, but they are about $35 on ebay.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Steely, if your chair is adjustable, make sure that it is set properly for your height and size. You should be able to adjust the seat height, arm height, distance between the seat and back, tilt angle, etc.

    Here's a guide that tells you the proper adjustments to make.

    Another thing to do is take a break once every hour to stretch. Even if you can't stand up to do so, straighten your arms, raise them above your head, rotate your shoulders, twist at the waist, rotate your ankles and wrists, etc.
  6. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I'm doing a quick "in and out" here, and we'll be gone all weekend, but one of my jobs at work is setting up work stations ergonomically, so I'll check back in on Monday if you still are having questions.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'm anti-ergonomics, at least for myself.

    You see, I have been playing with computers for years (since I was about 3), so I'm way relaxed. I took the arms off my chair at work, and I do not use a foot rest - my chair is way down low. I lean back. I'm relaxed. So... I don't have these issues.

    Right now at home, I have to sit up a bit and my back doesn't like that.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The right desk chair can make a huge difference. Adjusting your chair can be the first step. I know a few profs who use the "kneeler" chairs and some who use those chairs with the big balls instead of seats.

    Getting up to move every hour makes a huge difference. Strengthening your abs and core will help hugely. If you have the money, those igallop things are very helpful.

    Proper shoes also make a big difference. If you must wear heels at work take them with you and wear sneakers or walking shoes. At lunch or on a break take a walk. If your office has stairs go up and down them for a few flights.

    Massage is also helpful, as is a good chiropractor. You can get a therapy cane to massage your back. They are amazing and not terribly expensive. Check ebay and medical supply places online. If you get one and want to put capsaicin cream or flexall on your back there is a way. Take a new pantyliner and stick it too the ball that massages your back. Put the cream on the liner and apply where you want it. be careful when removing the liner so you don't get the cream on your hand.

    Getting a footstool that is angled is also helpful. The best ones are made for nursing moms.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Theracanes are available on and they also have back buddies, which are supposed to be even better.

    Check out the book "The trigger point therapy workbook: Your self treatment guide for pain relief" as it is incredible and amazing.

    If you type theracane into amazon these things will come up.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Everyone in our office has an Aeron chair and back problems are way down. It's an awesome fit and forces your back to be supported while you sit (*you must sit correctly in the chair - if you tend to teeter on the front part of the seat, you can feel the alignment in your back go out of whack).

    Also, you don't want your chair to be too high, like you're towering over the keyboard. And your monitor should be in a position where your eyes are looking down somewhat as opposed to having to raise your chin/head to look at the monitor. This raising of the head/chin will also make your alignment go off a bit and create low back problems.

    For the immediate relief, there is this stuff called Bio-Freeze - I buy the one with the roller - and instead of having to mess with an ice pack, you just roll this stuff on and it works just like an ice pack - ice is better for muscle strain than heat within the first 48 hours. A foot rest is helpfl for some, but I have found that I never get it to sit right and it causes me back pain anyway, so I just adjusted my seat so my feet can be firmly planted on the floor. Also, unless your back is 'out' and needs an adjustment, some gentle toe touching type of stretches would help that area a lot. Or, there is the pelvic tilt, which is my personal favorite for that low back area. You lie flat on a firm surface (the floor on a yoga mat is ideal), you can bend your knees slightly so as not to strain the area, and you gently pull your pelvic area down the floor, so it's flat against the floor and hold for 10 seconds, relax, repeat. My very first chiro taught me that when I was preggo with easy child and my back went out. It is a great little exercise to take pressure and pain from your low back.