Managing Lower Back Pain when Working from Home

Often when we get lower back pain, it is because a particular structure or tissue is getting irritated or inflamed and this can make our lower back particularly sensitive. It's important to recognise that the pain you may feel in your back is NOT an accurate indicator of what is happening to the tissues, but that pain is actually an alarm system of sorts. Unfortunately, sometimes these pain signals can be amplified by the nervous system due to things like stress, lack of sleep, anxiety and also by your expectations and belief about what that pain is. (you can read more about this here https://www.balancedosteopathy.co.uk/single-post/2020/03/05/Why-does-it-hurt-Pain-explained)

Despite your pain right now, your back is actually still very strong and resilient, it's currently just sensitised.

The best thing you can do for your lower back when it is feeling sore and painful is to try to move as normally as possible - when we try to guard our movements and essentially overprotect the back pain, we make things worse. Muscle spasm gets worse because we don't move properly, and the pain signal alarm system kicks in even earlier because we've been over protecting/ shielding our back from normal day to day movements. This is the first thing I say to all of my patients with lower back pain, regardless of if their pain is acute or chronic, irrespective of what structures are involved, is to move as normally as possible - and typically as a result, we find patients recover much quicker.

Changes you can make right now to your set up

1) Make sure your knees are lower than your hips when you're seated

2) Sit so that your stomach is close to your desk - if your chair has armrests that don't allow you to get this close, consider removing the armrests or swapping the chair for another you have in the house.

3) Feet should be planted on the floor.

4) Avoid crossing your legs for long periods - sitting like this for a prolonged period of time can increase strain through one side of the lower back, making it more sensitive at the end of the day