Like many of you know, being confined to a car for 2 hours a day can be a painful experience. After two years of commuting to work I was given a parking spot in the building’s nearby parking lot. This change cut out about 1 hour of combined walking time from my day. It resulted in a total sitting time of about 10 hours per day. One week later I started feeling a discomfort in my lower back. The discomfort only grew worse as I sat and squiggled in my chair. Relief only came when I got up to walk around. This was the beginning of my chronic lower back pain.
After a few months, and getting an ergonomic assessment, new chair and various other alterations my lower back pain remained. The only thing that could take the bug out was getting up and standing. I realized I needed a standing desk. Or better yet, a Sit-Stand desk. After three weeks of workplace political maneuvering (which I will explain in a later post) I was awarded a Sit-Stand Workstation. Aww… the relief. It was a beautiful feeling. Being able to glide up or down at my own discretion and still being a productive member of my team. This is how I reduced my lower back pain by 80% in 1 week. If it were not for this standing workstation, I would have had to quit and find a new job that allowed me to stand.
Manage upper and lower back pain caused by sitting. Sitting rolls the shoulders forward causing tension in the upper back. Lower back pain is caused by uneven compression, both of these can be fixed by these products below.
I own and love these products. They have really helped me to manage my upper and lower back pain, plus my patella-femoral syndrome. I plan to add instructions and video of how I use them. Enjoy!
The Ergotron Workfit – S
The number one thing you can do to help your upper and lower back pain is to get a standing desk. During the first week of using it you will feel your shoulder blades falling into their natural position. Stand tall with your shoulders back while you work. Raise the top of your head towards the ceiling and tuck your chin. This will keep your head over your torso not in front of it like a hunched over monkey. The compression on your lower back will be relieved because it it much easier to hold a neutral spine, allowing for even compression. Also, your abs will be engaged much more than when sitting. I use this product at work because I can mount it to any desktop, it won’t damage the monitors at work, and it is spring loaded so it slides up and down easily and quietly. I saw an 80% reduction in pain during my first week. It’s awesome.
Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 “Regular Size” Right Hand (model # VM4R) – USB Wired
The next thing you might need is a vertical mouse. I found that while standing it was really hard to keep my wrist rotated so that it was palm down. With this mouse your hand is is the “handshake” position. It feels really natural and is easy to get used to after a couple hours or days. This mouse allows your forearm muscles to relax. I do not recommend the wireless version because it is slow to react and disconnects every 30 minutes.
The Rubber Baseball
Ooh it feels so good. Lean up against a wall with this baby behind you, or lie down on top of it and feel the relief. This is the cheapest most effective way to relieve knots and trigger points in your back. After a few weeks you might want to upgrade to a real baseball, lacrosse ball, or softball. Each does something unique to your muscles.
The Body Back Buddy
This great tool will help you get into all those nooks and crannies of your back. It will help you work out those hard to reach trigger points that may be causing referred pain. Be sure to check out the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook too if you can’t figure out the source of the pain.
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook
This great little book will help you see where your pain is coming from. It is easy to know where your pain is, for example the wrist, but did you know this pain could be caused by a trigger point/knot in the forearm. Until you discover the knot that is causing the pain you could be chasing your tail. Luckily this book has the body mapped out with trigger points and locations of referred pain in easy to understand drawings. It’s actually really fun to discover how your body works in this way. Who knew that our pains were just muscular, I sure didn’t.