Tips for back pain relief and prevention

Tips for back pain relief and prevention

Simple exercises can ease a stiff neck, back fatigue and the dull headaches that can be caused by prolonged computer use.


In the UK, after stress, back pain is the most common reason for long-term sickness. Check out our article on Listening to your body – stress, and check out these useful pointers to improve your habits when sitting and using a computer, to minimise the risks of suffering from back pain.

  1. Take breaks
  2. Take at least ten minutes’ break from your desk every hour – preferably broken up into different shorter periods – and get up from your computer. Get the post, make a call and stroll as you talk, or get a coffee. Studies have shown that even people who exercise regularly can have an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases if they sit still excessively.
  3. Vary your working posture
  4. Use an office chair with a tilt function and stretch your feet forward or lift them up on the chair's leg supports at regular intervals, sit forward and backward at varying times. If your desk has an easily adjustable height, alternate between sitting and standing while you work.
  5. Move
  6. Make the most of times when you don’t have to sit at your computer. For example, when you’re thinking, planning or talking to a colleague, why not stand up and move around or go to a café to get your tasks done?
  7. Stretch
  8. Sitting still makes muscles stiff and shortened, so stretching exercises are important. Even at your seat you can gently rotate shoulders and head, stretch legs and move your hips.
  9. Strength exercises using everyday objects
  10. Make use of everyday objects for strength training and loosening muscle knots.
    • Fill water bottles and use them as dumbbells. Strengthen back and arm muscles by standing with legs apart and a bottle in each hand at your sides. Then lift your arms straight up to shoulder height and then down again. Repeat 10 times.
    • Stand against a wall with a tennis ball between you and the wall, and rub your back against the ball. It can be a very effective way to ease muscle knots.
    • Use a Pilates ball as a chair. This is especially suited for stabilizing the trunk, strengthening the spine and reducing back pain. Sit-ups done with a Pilates ball can be very effective.
    • Use a sofa or low bench as a base for push-ups or plank exercises.
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NB Never overdo exercises if you have medical concerns. If in doubt, seek medical advice.

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