Working from home Posture issues – Sore and tight lower back

Working from home Posture issues – Sore and tight lower back

Problem: Too much pressure on your lumbar spine (lower back) from long periods of sitting

Solution: Change your working location through the day and move more, including stretches for your tight muscles

Working from home can often mean sitting down for longer periods without getting up. The typical seated position puts a lot of pressure on the lumbar spine – the 5 vertebrae at the base of your spine. The discs between the vertebrae are squeezed on one side and can become bulging or misaligned. Sitting with the hips flexed when seated also leads to shortening and tightening the hip flexor muscles and lower back muscles pulling your pelvis out of alignment. These things combined can lead to a stiff and sore spine, as well as tight and sore lower back muscles.

There are a couple of simple solutions to help.

  1. Get up and move more during the day. Make sure you get up at least once an hour. Schedule an alarm on your phone to remind you! You might get up and walk back and forth while you’re on a call, get up to make a drink or use the bathroom. Just stand up and stretch for a few seconds.
  2. Change working position. If you have a higher counter area in your kitchen, or can create a higher surface for your laptop with a few phone books or stacks of copy paper – make yourself a standing desk and alternate between sitting and standing for the day.
  3. Stretch those tight muscles – stretching the tight hip flexors and lower back muscles can help relieve some of the pressure on the spine. Try these ones illustrated below.
Forward Fold for low back

Standing up with soft knees, slowly fold forward until you come to a nice gentle “hang” forwards, if your hands are touching the floor just fold them up and let your back relax. Hold for 30 seconds. Be careful not to come back up too quickly as your head is inverted, it can make you dizzy.

lower back stretch forward fold
Lying rotation for low back

(Caution if you have any spinal or disc issues) Lying on your back, open up both arms wide, lift one leg up and let fall across your body, rotate your head the opposite direction. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. If it is too much with straight legs then you can modify with a bent knee or even prop up your knee on a cushion.

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Hip flexor stretch

Place one foot and shin on an office chair behind you, hold onto a wall or desk for stability, slowly lower your front leg down into a lunge position while stretching the back leg our behind you, keep chest upright. This can be done in a kneeling position on the floor to make it a bit more stable. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

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