We’ve got your Back!
With 10million of us slumped over laptops & our new norm of working from home settling in, how many of us now have creaky backs & neck pain from hours sat hunched at a desk.
We sat down, comfortably, with Katie Bench, BSc. (Hons) Ost. from The Monkton Farleigh Osteopathic Practice just outside Bath, to discuss the top 5 things we should all be doing to look after our most precious belonging, our spine!
1. SITTING PRETTY
So often ignored, our posture can have such an incredible affect on how we feel and the strain we put on our back. Whether we are standing or sitting, our shoulders need to be open and we should be imagining we are a puppet on a string, stretching upwards and making space in our lumbar spine. Doing the exact opposite, sitting on the edge of your chair and hunching over a laptop compresses the spine, puts pressure on your neck and can be the cause of many a headache. Katie explains we have a nerve running from the top of our neck to the base of the head, which is vulnerable to compression by muscles. Mess with the occipital nerve all day and you’ll feel its wrath come 5pm!
- Our Inflexion, Sensit, and Tiverton chairs have height adjustable and inflatable lumbar pads.
- Our Ovair and Operator chairs have height adjustable lumbar pads.
- Our Tiverton, Sensit, Ovair and Inflexion have adjustable seat angle capability.
- All of our collection offer good S shaped spinal support
- All of our collection offer soft padded, height adjustable arms.
2. GET MOVING
It is too tempting to sit all day with just the odd stretch to the kettle, however movement is key to maintaining your happy back for 8 hours a day. Katie recommends taking a break every 1 hour during your work day to move around, stretch it out and relieve the pressure on your spine. Sitting creates far more pressure on your discs, so standing regularly can really help give relief to those hard working pressure points. Pectoral stretches when you reach behind your back can really help to open out your shoulders too.
- Our Sensit and Ovair chairs have Body Balance mechanisms for Dynamic Sitting – the seat and back angle change effortlessly with your movements, promoting continuous stimulation of the spine.
- Our Sensit chair has dual inflatable seat pads for constant support as you move in the chair.
3. EXERCISE YOUR CORE
Regular varied exercise is extremely important in supporting your spinal health. Aerobic exercise gives your heart a good workout, improving the blood supply of tissues and promoting healing – a fundamental principle to Osteopathic treatment. Strength & conditioning training is also crucial for improving your flexibility and core, supporting your spine and improving your ability to sit at your desk pain free.
4. TAKE A BREATH
Good breathing techniques can have lots of positive effects all over the body. Katie explains, if you are using the wrong muscles you can cause undue stress on the neck. We all need to learn to take our breath right down to our diaphragm, however, here’s the trick, do it gently! Calm breathing has far more benefit than forced breathing. If you can simply breath through your nose that’s even better, helping the release of Nitric Oxide, stored in your sinuses, which helps to open the blood vessels and allow better oxygenation and tissue health. Good breathing also regulates the autonomic nervous system, effected by stress and related to our fight fright or flight response. Control this and the benefits to your entire wellbeing are immense.
5. HAVE A GOOD DRINK!
Hydration & Nutrition are Katie’s final top tip for good back health. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, around 2 litres is recommended, helps your body maintain its peak operating performance. Eating the right balanced diet, regularly, during your movement breaks will also fuel your system. Its so easy to skip lunch if your knee deep in work, however your body is an engine and without regular meals will simply run out of steam.
Katie Bench BSc.(Hons) Ost. Registered Osteopath. www.ba15osteopaths.co.uk