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Should I be wearing a back brace at the office?

22nd May 2016

Reader question: I’m a pretty fit guy but long hours at the office has done a number on my back and core. I’ve been strengthening my core muscles to compensate but I’ve felt something has to be done for the 8+ hours I’m sitting at my desk in the office. So today is the first day I’m wearing a back brace under my shirt. It’s pretty uncomfortable so far, I guess I have to get used to it, but has anybody had any long term effects to wearing a back brace? I’m wondering if I’m going the wrong route here.

Answers:

1. You may try Better Back. It looks goofy, but I love the damn thing. I wear for 15-20 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon. Although I work from home office so I don’t have to worry about annoying co-workers asking about it.

2. About 6 years ago I had this routine: Renovate house at night, wake up and go to chiropractor 3 x per week, go to work and repeat for 2 or so months. My back was in bad shape–disc/sprained. I wore a smaller sized lifting belt under my work clothes (business casual) and it saved me. It puts a lot of pressure on your stomach but it can help. I’ve also seen people with back issues use one of those big exercise balls as desk chairs.

3. Also look into standing desks, Work on your posture, sit on an exercise ball or have your doctor write you a note for a standing desk (every place I work at will do it, HR has to I believe). Wearing a brace all day seems like a bad idea unless its a temporary fix for a fresh injury.

4. Try to get up every 45 minutes or so. Bathroom, water, whatever. I get up a ton every day while others sit for 3-4 straight hours.

5. I wouldn’t use the back brace long term, your body may get used to needing it. Work on your posture, sit on an exercise ball or have your doctor write you a note for a standing desk (every place I work at will do it, HR has to I believe).

6. I wear one every day. It gives me better posture while sitting and helps me avoid disc problems. I do core exercises and play basketball as well but I still have sciatica issues at times.

7. I had issues sitting at work all day. I’m a short guy, so this may not apply to you, but the first thing I did was get a foot stool so that I can press down on it and it forces me to sit up straighter with my shoulders back and my head back and aligned with my spine. I would also do these “microbreak” exercises that my chiropractor recommended. I felt that it relieved tension in my lower back, neck, and shoulder – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6wLYEixvAE

But the best thing I did was get a standing desk that can be raised or lowered easily. I have an Ergotron and this allows me to stand most of the day, and then sit when I need a break from the standing.

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