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There’s no doubt that our lower backs possess tremendous strength and flexibility. However, our spines are engineered in a way that makes them prone to developing various complications that can lead to leg pain, hip problems and more. With time, bad posture – usually associated with long sitting hours – can lead to muscle strain or other soft tissue problems.

Here’s what to do to protect your back while in the office or classroom:

1. Avoid maintaining a head-down position for too long

Whether you are slumping or sitting up tall, you’re liable to suffer from neck and back strain if your desk surface is too small. To resolve this problem, try getting your head back into a balanced position by repositioning your pelvis. You can also decrease the strain caused by forwarding bending forces on your spine by sitting on your chair placed sideways to the desk.

2. Use a slant board to reduce the strain on your neck

A lot of the strain felt in your throat is caused by the bending over your work. The simple act of raising and slanting your computer keyboard, typewriter or other writing and reading surface can reduce strain to muscular and joint tissues considerably. Placing your read/write materials on a large three- ring binder, for example, can increase the angle at which you’re inclined a bring about considerable relief to your neck.

3. Take small breaks from your chair

Sitting for long hours is bad for your back. It puts a strain on your spinal disks and causes your gluteal muscles, which stabilise your spine, to relax too much. Standing up and walking around every 15 minutes or so can solve this problem because it activates your glutes, core as well as your pelvic floor muscles

4. Exercise your core

Regular exercise can help you develop strong core muscles which are vital for providing support to the lower back. Exercise walking or any other low-impact aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the spine and supplies your lower back muscles with hydration and other healing nutrients necessary to keep it healthy and functional. If exercise seems like a big ask, try simple tasks that keep you mobile like walking up and down the stairs, sitting on an exercise ball or stretching once in a while.

5. Avoid chronic stress by relaxing

Chronic stress causes your muscles to tighten. In fact, the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to suffer from back pain. You can break the stress cycle by doing relaxation exercises, cardio and yoga. Fear or anxiety about your pain can only make the problem worse, so try not to think about it too much.

6. Use a foot rest

Do your feet touch the floor when you sit at your office desk? If not, you almost certainly need a foot rest – or, chair with an adjustable height. Dangling feet puts a strain on your spinal muscles causing you neck or back pain. By using a foot rest that’s high enough to support your feet (without raising your knees too much), you’ll find yourself much more comfortable and productive at the office.

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Ankit Gupta

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