It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking and quite frankly, we couldn’t agree more.

As professionals we can correlate so much of what we see in our office to prolonged periods of sitting. Here are four proven strategies to help reduce low back issues if you yourself are sitting for long, extended periods of time.

Use an ergonomic chair.

Most chair manufacturers would have you believe that the best seated posture are 90 degree angles at the hip, knees, and elbows. This thought process is completely erroneous. The ideal sitting posture as documented by Callaghan and McGill, is one that has you sitting in a variety of positions throughout the day. Why a variety of positions? Because changing postures relocates the weight bearing loads among tissue, decreasing tissue fatigue. A truly good ergonomic chair would be one that allows you to change your postures easily throughout the day.

Get out of the chair.

Recently proposed guidelines suggest a sitting limit of 30 minutes at one go (without a break). Go to the restroom, fill up a water bottle, take a lap around the office, stand when talking on the phone, get up and stretch (preferably into extension, not flexion). The current recommended break time is at least 10-20 seconds to 5 minutes.

Remove your wallet (phone, notepad) from back pocket.

It has been well documented that carrying a wallet in your back pocket distorts your posture, causing your spine to be out of alignment. It also puts pressure on your piriformis muscle which aggravates the sciatic nerve and can lead to sciatica. (Distilunion.com)

Perform an exercise routine at some time during the workday.

If you’re able to workout during your lunch hour, that would be ideal. Think of including elements of mobility and stability (or motor control) in your workout regimen. This would mean expanding the amount of range of motion that can be controlled in all the body’s joints. (Tom Bumgardner)

Credit: McGill, Stuart. (2016) Low Back Disorders: Evidence-based Prevention and Rehabilitation. (194-196)