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Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines
10666 North Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-554-7988

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Spine Care at the Office

Short stretch breaks while at your desk can help calm back pain.Spine care at the office can present many types of challenges to a worker who wants to prevent back and neck injury. During a typical day at the office, the spine handles thousands of postural and mechanical changes associated with the demands of sitting, standing, and lifting.

The purpose of this information is to help you to adopt work habits that support healthy posture and body mechanics. Change does take time but the rewards are well worth the effort. You may find that you are able to work more comfortably with less fatigue while your productivity increases.

Part 1: Sit in a Chair Properly
Whether your chair is ergonomically designed, adjustable, or a standard office chair, you can benefit by learning how to sit in a chair.

Chair armrests can help you to push yourself up and out of a chair by fighting gravity. Hold on to the armrests and scoot to the edge of the chair before pushing yourself to a standing position.

Part 2: Sit Sensibly
Schedule time every half hour to get up and stretch! Don't allow yourself to sit in one position (called static) for a prolonged period of time. Every half hour, stand up, stretch, and walk someplace for a few minutes. This will help to increase circulation, relax tight muscles, and can actually help you to be more productive!

Be aware of your posture! Sit close to your work and do not slouch or slump. Also, avoid crossing your legs as this can restrict proper circulation.

Part 3: Sitting and Working at a Desk
Now that you know how to sit correctly, learn how to sit at a desk and arrange the workspace efficiently to help prevent back and neck injury.

Part 4: Tips to Prevent Back Pain While Standing

Part 5: Lifting and Back Safety
Before you begin to lift something, assess the item's size and weight. Test the weight by pushing it with your foot or by lifting a corner. If the item doesn't easily move, get help. The job may require two people, splitting up the load, a hand-truck, dolly or lifting equipment. Plan a safe route to the final destination. Map out a mental picture to the destination and plan for places to stop and rest. Before beginning to lift and move the item, clear away floor clutter (e.g. electrical cords, chairs), open closed doors, and be aware of stairs.

One of the worst body movements is stooping or bending over at the waist to lift anything. Stooping over places harmful stress on the lower back and can cause back injury.

Conclusion
At the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders (SDCSD), we believe in an approach that includes preventing future injury. Once you understand the basics of spine care, you can help to prevent back and neck injury at the office. If you are faced with a workspace challenge, or have questions about preventing spine injury we urge you to discuss it with a member of the SDCSD team.