For many of us, chasing the American dream means spending a lot of time at the office or on the road. This leads to excessive time spent slumped in uncomfortable office chairs leaning over a computer or stuffed into flight after flight of economy class seating. After a while this begins to take its toll on our backs and these are two of the main drivers of so many of the back problems faced by Americans today.
Everyone needs to make a living, though, so it’s not as if we can drop the jobs in favor of full time rehabilitation. What’s needed is a better understanding of how to improve our posture throughout the day and add some healthy routines into our schedules to make sureour spine is getting the attention it deserves.
Easy fixes at the office
The place most people need to start when correcting issues with their posture is at the office. Office chairs are rarely fitted for the person sitting in them and tend to lack lower back support. If you’re having back trouble it’s worth seeking out an ergonomic office chair that offers more lower back support, even if this means paying for it out of your own pocket.
Another problem people run into at the office is sitting too long. Even with a perfectly fitted ergonomic chair the spine is simply not meant to be stationary for lengthy periods of time. Build in breaks throughout the day just like you would for a snack or a cup of coffee to get out of your chair, move around and do some basic stretching.
Easy fixes while flying
Much like at the office, one of the keys to back pain free flying is to get up and move around. Book yourself an aisle seat so you can get up periodically during the flight and provide some motion for your spine. Another thing that can make this easier is to shop for flights that will have lower occupancy, providing you easier access and more space to get up and move about.
Plane seats are notorious for encouraging slouching, so you’ll want to make an effort to correct the seating by either bringing your own back roll or extra pillows to keep your spine straight. You may also need to make adjustments to keep your knees at a right angle depending on your height. An extra pillow or a seat cushion can come in handy there as well.
If you have more severe back pain you can get a note from your doctor to carry an ice pack or a portable heat pad to place directly on your trouble spots. If you have your doctor’s permission for these items you’ll be able to get them through airport security in your carry on luggage. Alternatively, another simple way to help manage your back pain is to use medication. Whether its an over the counter pain reliever or a muscle relaxer like Cyclobenzaprine, sometimes these medications can provide the extra touch of comfort and relaxation to stop your back from tightening up or becoming sore during particularly long flights.
Where your problems could lead
We all wish we would have kept ourselves inbetter shape when we were younger, but we don’t really have the ability to do that. What we can do is begin work on preventing future health issues. Having a sore back is bad enough, but over time issues with your spine can have drastic consequences. Extended stress and poor posture can change the characteristics of the spine, causing problems with muscles, joints, and even your nerves. These problems can seep into other symptoms as well, causing problems that can range from headaches and fatigue to more serious issues with your heart and lungs.
These tips can be a great starting point to fixing some of the issues that may be creeping up on you already, and can be translated to other areas of your life as well.