How to Cope with Backache Caused by Long Hours Spent Staring at a Monitor

Whether you are a blogger or a coder, chances are you spend 8-10 or more hours a day staring at a monitor. This might be good for your bank balance, but it’s not so great for your back. Humans were not designed to sit at a desk all day. We evolved to be active hunter-gatherers, running away from predators and doing manual activities to stay alive. More people than ever are desk-bound 9-5, and it’s not good for us.

Worrying Backpain Statistics

Back pain is responsible for more time off work than any other medical issue. 31 million Americans are suffering from back pain at any given time, so if you have never experienced backache after a long session at the computer, you are in a minority. The good news is there is plenty you can do about it.

Most people resort to anti-inflammatory painkillers if their back hurts. This is fine in the short-term and even recommended if it is suspected you have pulled a muscle in your back. Some painkillers are stronger than others, e.g. Vicodin vs Percocet for broken bones, so you may need a script from your doctor. However, if your backache is more of a niggle than agony, over-the-counter painkillers will be enough to dull the ache and let you continue working.

Painkillers should only ever be a short-term solution. Your real priority needs to be designing a more back-friendly workspace.

Invest in a Suitable Office Chair

Take a good, hard look at your office chair. Is it suitable for regular work? Is it an ergonomic chair that you can adjust to suit your posture and body shape?

Office chairs come in all shapes and sizes, so buying one online may not be the best idea. Instead it could be a better idea to find the best chair for your office and for your posture. It’s much better to sit in a chair before you buy, so you can make sure it fits your posture, is comfortable, and adjustable. Visit your local office supplies store and try a few chairs out. Then price check online to make sure you are getting a bargain. Don’t be afraid to haggle!

If you can’t afford to upgrade your chair, look for ways to improve the one you have. Lower back pain is often caused by a lack of support in the lower back region, so use a rolled-up towel or small cushion to support your back. You might find that a footrest helps, too.

Take a Break

How often do you take a break? If the answer is “when I need a coffee”, you’re not taking enough breaks!

It’s easy to get carried away writing or coding. We’ve all done it. However, if you want to protect your back, you need to take regular breaks, preferably at least once an hour. Stand up, stretch your legs, and give your back a break. Sitting hunched over a desk for hours at a time is not good for you!

We hope these tips help, but if your back pain is keeping you awake at night or you’ve been suffering for more than two weeks, get it checked out.