How to Relieve Back Pain at Work – 6 Helpful Tips

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Today I want to tackle the topic of how to relieve back pain at work.  This subject is unfortunately very near and dear to me.  I have been dealing with back problems most of my adult life, so I am definitely speaking from a position of experience.  If you would like to know some of my tips and tricks for dealing with back pain at work, you have come to the right place.

I’ve become a kind of pseudo-expert at relieving back pain while at work. How? I have had sciatic pain so bad it hurt to drive to work, and once I got there, I could barely make it from the parking lot to my desk.  I have also had spinal stenosis and was not able to stand upright, as I was bent over about 30-degrees at the waist.  I have also dealt with lots of problems in between.

Varying your posture

Most of us sit a lot during the day.  I sit on my 45-minute drive to work, sit at work, then sit again on my commute home.  That is a lot of sitting.  Sitting is tough on people with back problems.  One thing that I do during the day is varying my posture as much as possible.

I make sure that I get up from my chair frequently throughout the day.  I do have a sit-stand desk in my cubicle, so I can stand up whenever I need to and get off my butt.  Check out our roundup of the best sit-stand workstations. They are a great option at home and at work. I love my sit-stand desk and it is just one more tool to help me vary my posture throughout the day.

In my opinion, it is not good to stand all day, nor is it good to sit all day. That is why alternating positions is the best option.  When I sit too much, my hip flexors get tight and so do my hamstrings.  So, by standing throughout the day, I am able to help relieve some of this tension that has built up in my hips.

Drink a lot of water

That’s right, water, not Coke or Pepsi, go old fashioned water.  Drinking water is great for a lot of reasons, but it is really important for your spine.  The vertebrae in our backs are separated by discs.  These discs act as shock absorbers for daily activities like bending or moving, so the bones (vertebrae) don’t rub together.

The center of these discs are filled mostly with water. As we go about our daily routine, even just standing or sitting, the discs are compressed and water squeezes out.  It is really important to keep our bodies properly hydrated, so the discs can continue their cushioning function.

How to relieve back pain at work drink water

The other point I want to make about drinking water is, the more water you drink, the more you have to go to the bathroom. The more trips you make the to the bathroom, this makes you get up and walk to the restroom.  Walking is one way to get out of your seat and get into a new position.  So drinking a lot of water has multiple benefits.

Stretching exercises

You may not be familiar with the piriformis muscle, but it is a muscle buried deep under your butt, and runs right on top of the sciatic nerve. When the piriformis muscle is inflamed or irritated, it can cause issues and pain with the sciatic nerve.

You can experience tingling or numbness down your leg, even into your feet.  Anyway, I find it very helpful to perform these stretching exercises routinely a few times during the day.  You can do them in the comfort of your chair and privately for the most part.

Well, I wrote a post about lower back stretches you can do at work.  I use these exercises to stretch out my hip flexors and hamstrings as well as the piriformis muscle.

Go for a walk

Yes, you can relieve back pain by walking. I would highly recommend doing this a few times during the day.  I get out for a walk after I have been in the office for a couple of hours in the morning.  This really helps to loosen up my hips and hamstrings.

I know this depends on the type of job you have, or what the weather is like, but even walking around the office is great.  Again, this all goes back to just varying your posture throughout the day so you are not stuck in the same position all day long.  Check out this post for the benefits of walking as it relates to back pain.How to relieve back pain at work go for a walk

Have you tried a seat cushion?

I recently did some research for a post about seat cushions for back pain.  I love my seat cushion and have tried several. Now this is not a device that is meant to be used all day to sit on, but you can definitely get some relief from back pain by using a seat cushion. A lot of the cushions are designed with a coccyx (tailbone) cutout and this helps to relieve pressure off of that area.

How to relieve back pain at work

A seat cushion helps to evenly distribute the weight of you body, so that all of the weight is not concentrated on your tailbone and lower back.  I purchased a memory foam cushion and it works great. Even though I have a nice chair at work, adding a nice thick, comfy cushion is certainly a bonus.  Again, this is just another way to try something different to change things up.

Lumbar supports are great too

Check out my post on lumbar support cushions help to maintain the natural curvature of your spine. With that, lumbar supports can help you maintain a proper seated position and keep your posture in check.  All of these things will help to keep you positioned correctly and reduce stress on your lower back.  A lot of people tend to slouch when they are seated at the computer for a long time.  Slouching can contribute to back pain.

Conclusion: How To Relieve Back Pain At Work 

Well, these are some of the things that I do during the day to help with my back problems.  Depending on the severity of your back problems, you may not be able to stretch or go for a lengthy walk, I have been there. But things like using a sit-stand workstation, or sitting on a cushion can really help.

At the end of the day, I find that a variety of different techniques really help me get through the day. Like I said, I don’t like to be in one single position, whether it is sitting or standing for too long at one time.

If your back problems are severe, I would definitely recommend you talk to a doctor, chiropractor, or other healthcare providers before you stretch, embark on any kind of treatment.  Not that this post is about treatment, but more about helps tips that have worked for me over the years.

24 thoughts on “How to Relieve Back Pain at Work – 6 Helpful Tips”

  1. Hi Steve. Thank you for these tips on how to avoid back pain. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer and I find that I do get some aches and pains, not necessarily in my back but sometimes in my knees and shoulders. Do you think they could be related to posture as I tend to sit on the sofa and type at quite a low table. Lately I’ve been thinking that this is not ideal and your article has reinforced this opinion. I will look at setting up a better workstation and taking more breaks, or varying my posture. Thank you again. Gail

  2. I have an office job that requires me to work at a computer all day long. I don’t have back problems yet but I probably will if I don’t fix my slouching problem.
    I purposefully drink a lot of water during the day for those bathroom trips. It also gives me a little break.
    I really have to make sure I’m not slouching. That’s my biggest problem.

  3. Great post Steve.
    My techniques are walking and mix between standing and sitting a desk. I try to do some floor stretching behind my desk but it’s a little tight on space.
    Do you have any recommended stretch for tight spaces?

  4. WOW I had no idea that drinking water is helpful for back pain. I sit all day as well, both on my commute and during the day, and my lower back pain is unrelenting. I will definitely start drinking more water! I’m thinking that one of those sit-stand workstations would be a great idea as well. Thanks for a great post, and I love your logo, by the way!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, I appreciate it. Yes, it’s amazing how vital water is and in this case, it serves another purpose, to get people up out of their seat. Sit-stand workstations are awesome, I have one myself and I just absolutely love it. Thank you for noticing my logo! Let me know if you need any help with a desk, or have any other questions.

  5. Hi Steve,
    Thank you for these wonderful tips. I always complain from back pains. I was surprised Water is one way of helping back pains. I should start drinking water every now and then. Thanks I really enjoyed this article of yours.

  6. Hi Steve, it is great that you have made a post about dealing with back pain as this is a major issue for so many people. It must have been hard for you dealing with it most of your life but at least you have found some great tips and tricks to help others.
    My sister has suffered major back pain for years and I’ve literally seen her banging her head against a wall when the pain has been unbearable. It’s really hard to watch (and even worse for the sufferer of course) which is why it is a topic close to my heart.
    She already follows most of the advice you have given…except for the drinking water, that’s interesting, and makes complete sense. I will pass on this information to her. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I have been in similar situations, hoping and praying the pain would subside. These are just some ideas that work for me, so I hope that some other people can get some relief as well. Thanks again for stopping by.

  7. Thanks, Steve. What I found fascinating was what you had to say about the positive effect that water has on the spine. I only drink water at work so without realizing it, I am in fact servicing my spinal health.

    All the best,


    • Thanks for stopping by Brian. Yes, water is so critical to our bodies, in ways a lot of people don’t even realize. I appreciate your comment.

  8. Steve,
    Sitting for long periods of time does make my back stiff. I like to set a timer to get up and take a break. I find things to do for my break that does not involve sitting.
    I do have an area that I can use for a standing desk at my pub table in the game room. This does help and give me a change of pace for my environment.
    Are there any stretching exercises that you can do while sitting.

  9. Hi Steve and thank you for the helpful info. I am working hard to remember to get up and move around when I am working on my computer all day.

    As well, I am trying to incorporate some of your stretches into my day. Sometimes when I do a stretch I also feel a twinge just above my hips at the back.

    What do you think is happening? Should I stop or try a different stretch? Thank you in advance!

    • I would definitely stop stretching if you are feeling pain and check with your doctor.

      As far as moving around during the day, thumbs up for that, it’s definitely a good thing to do.

      Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.

  10. This is very helpful, Steve! I need to start changing my position more often when I’m sitting at my computer for hours at a time. I do drink a lot of water and try to remind myself to get up and walk around and stretch. I’m guilty of just working away and not moving! These are great tips to relieve back pain at work, thanks so much!

    • Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. I am glad you are drinking a lot of water, that is really good for your body in general. I know it’s hard sometimes to remember to get up and walk around, I am guilty of that sometimes too. Thanks again for stopping by!

  11. I have dealt with back pain off and on over the years. But, mostly it’s from overworking my body when working out. For me, my back pain doesn’t seem to flare up when I am working. However, when I am going to sleep at night my back will hurt some.

    I don’t like to take prescription medicine or anything. I really believe narcotics are the absolute last resort. I can’t understand why they are so easily prescribed in the United States. Sorry, I’m just rambling.

    What about fish oil I have heard it has a lot of benefits for mental health and also is good for your joints? Does this pertain to your back though?

    • Hello and thank you for your comment, I appreciate it. Omega 3’s do contain anti-inflammatory properties which may decrease some pain caused by inflammation. That would be something to talk to your doctor about for sure. I agree that too many drugs are prescribed without getting to the root of the problem. Thanks again for stopping by.

  12. Oh very nice and effective options to overcome back pain. This is something really very interesting. I especially like it because this is not something boring like other articles on back pain. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, I appreciate the comment. These are things that have worked for me for sure. Thanks again for stopping by.


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