The Importance of Maintaining Back Health at Work - Toronto Teacher Mom

The Importance of Maintaining Back Health at Work

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Importance of Maintaining Back at Health at Work - Ontario Chiropractic Association

Like most, you are undoubtedly aware that sitting at a desk all day while at work can be a pain in the back. Literally. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, sitting for long periods can lead to back pain, muscle tenderness and body aches. While the effects of prolonged sitting can be alleviated by alternating sitting with other body positions, some jobs require sitting for long periods which can cause fatigue, as noted by CCOHS. This is caused by a reduction in blood flow due the squeezing of the blood vessels by the muscles required to hold the abdomen, neck and shoulders in a fixed position while sitting. But did you know that sitting can also make the muscles susceptible to injury?

The Ontario Chiropractic Association recognizes that sitting down on the job can strain your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, compressing the spinal discs and limiting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. As such, injuries resulting from prolonged sitting are serious occupational health problems and are becoming increasingly common. In an article that linked sitting to occupational low back pain, research indicated that workers who spend most of their day in a seated position had the highest rate of hospitalization for low back pain injury. 

What's more, the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group has identified that Canadian adults spend about 75% of their time doing sedentary activities. While prolonged sitting, stress and a busy work schedule can be overwhelming, maintaining overall health by eating well, exercising regularly and drinking lots of water is of utmost importance. In addition, the Ontario Chiropractic Association offers up a few tips to help stay pain and injury-free at work.

Tips on How to Stay Pain-Free at Work

  • Posture - Since the strength of your core determines posture, it is a good idea to practice “active sitting”. To do this, sit with your feet flat on the ground in front of you with your back straight, your shoulders squared and your ears in-line with your shoulders. 
  • Invest in a good office chair - An ergonomic chair that can be easily adjusted and properly supports your lower back while accommodating your size is a wise investment. Also ensure that it offers a sturdy, comfortable seat with a front edge that curves downward to promote proper posture. The use of armrests, a footrest and an adjustable tilt seat pan can further customize your workstation based on your needs.
  • Change it up - The use of stability balls instead of regular office chairs is a recent trend to hit the workplace. Keep in mind, however, that stability balls should not completely replace office chairs and are not suited for everyone. If you want to try it out, seek the advice of your chiropractor first and be sure to alternate between the ball and your chair to periodically change your position while strengthening your core. You may also consider a sit-stand workstation that can be adjusted to accommodate sitting or standing. 
  • Take frequent breaks - Experts recommend moving or changing positions every 30 to 45 minutes. Examples of mid-day breaks include going for a walk during lunch hour, visiting a co-worker’s desk, or  incorporating “stretch breaks” throughout the day to free muscles from their fixed positions and boost your energy.
  • Stretch - This is my personal favourite. In fact, you will often find me stretching while waiting for a print job to finish at the photocopier since it helps to increase circulation and, quite frankly, it feels so good! Stretching also helps to decrease aches and pains, and maintain good posture. To loosen neck muscles, try interlacing your fingers, placing them behind your head and gently pushing your head into your hands. To stretch your chest and the front of your body, place your hands on either side of your spine, roll your shoulders back and lift the heart up towards the ceiling.
  • Reach for the sky - Pull out your smart phones and download Straighten Up Canada, a free mobile app developed by Canada’s chiropractors which offers an easy posture program that can be done right at your desk. Aimed at improving posture and spinal health, the program offers 12 unique posture exercises, how-to photos and videos. You can also enable notifications to remind you to keep active and aligned. The app is available on iOS, Android and Blackberry devices in both English and French.
To help maintain back health, one lucky reader will win a work posture prize pack valued at approximately $100 that includes the following:


To be eligible to win, complete the Rafflecopter form below. Open to residents of Ontario only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. I could really benefit from this. I have a bad back to begin with. Arthritis throughout doesn't help but the hours I spend at my computer just adds to the pain. I stretch but it really doesn't help. I would love to try this to see if it would work.

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  2. I have the worst posture ever and terrible back pain daily. Anything that can help would be amazing.

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  3. I would like to win. I see a chiropractor on a monthly basis to treat my back for a a broken tail bone years ago..

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  4. I could use this. My back has recently started hurting and this could help strength it.

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  5. Many years ago, I worked at a Rehab clinic. One of the young Case Managers there was really ahead of her time. She got rid of her office chair for one of those balls ^ and she would take breaks, even although she had a very demanding workload!it is worth mentioning that this gal even used all natural products like Oregano Oil, before the health craze even got started! Whew! I suffer from low back pain as you described and would love a boost, if you will, to help me change things up and get active! :)

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  6. I suffer from bad back pain from arthritis and sitting here at the computer sure doesn't help, it would be great to do something for my back!!

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  7. i've tried to change a few things at my desk and nothing seems to work. i'm constantly going to get massages, chiro, osteo and acupuncture

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  8. SAdly none of those tips would be useful where I work. No one sits (we stand for our full shift), we have two coffee breaks (Although in my province they legally don't have to offer that),as well we get a 30 min coffee break. Cell phones and such are never on the work floor. We all wear Steel toed rubber boots provide by the company, so they often don't fit properly. As well the floors are cement and can have product on it that causes slips and falls. I could really use this as right now the only exercise I'm currently doing is walking (11kms the other day pokemoning ) but once winter hits and its 30C below with a windchill, I'll be staying indoors!!

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  9. I would love to win because mY back can get quite sore and even get spasms or give out when lifting my son

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  10. I know I sit at a desk for too long each day. This would be great to help take better care of my back.

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  11. I'd like to win because I hunch a lot.

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  12. I would love to win because I sit my desk for several hours a day. Quite often I have shoulder, neck and lower back pain due to bad posture. Hopefully, this prize pack will help me to correct my posture

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  13. I have terrible neck pain, I really need this one to get it fixed or at least relieved.

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  14. I would like to win as i hurt my back in a car accident a few years back and i think this would really help me!

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  15. This would help with my back issues.

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  16. I often get back pain; sometimes I can't even get out of bed! I have always wanted a stability ball! I would try to use it to sit on while at the computer! Thanks for the chance!

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  17. i try to take breaks just getting off my butt to walk around (winnie)

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  18. I would like to win because I like doing exercices every few days and I was looking for a strap! I can definitely see a use for the ball.

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  19. I would like to win this because this would help me with my back issues

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  20. I sit in an office all day and have nerve issues due to my back. This would really help me to stretch out my muscles and help relieve those issues. :)

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  21. I have terrible posture and it is getting worse

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  22. I sit at a desk all day and am definitely starting to feel old. I'm sure some extra support will do wonders.

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  23. This prize would be a great addition to my pilates class. A strong core and strong back are my goals. Constantly a struggle...

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  24. I find because my job is stationary I need to focus more on my back health! (Suzi)

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  25. I have been having a lot of neck and shoulder problems lately and this leads to a lot of headaches. Most of it is caused by poor posture and stress (which also causes slouching and bad posture). This would help to increase my back health!

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  26. I have fairly good posture at work (good chair, sit straight,etc). But I am getting carpal tunnel, so any kind of stretching routine will be beneficial, I think.

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  27. too much sitting at work means this would be beneficial
    jan

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  28. I sit at work for long periods of time, I am able to stretch at times which gives me some relief. In would get more out of my stretching by using the balance ball and stretch rope, that is why I want to win

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