3 Ways to Avoid Back Pain at the Office, Home, and Gym

Young men at standing desks in office
Andy Ryan

Don’t wait for pain to strike. Here’s how to protect your back, 24/7.



At the office

You’ve probably heard that sitting is the new smoking, and it doesn’t do your back any favors, either. The position puts stress on the lower back, but you can mitigate the damage by getting up every 20 to 45 minutes, and changing positions, says Jeffrey Goldstein, chief of spine surgery education at NYU Langone.

Dumbbell row

The 30 Best Back Exercises of All Time

Read article

If you’re a desk jockey, nab an ergonomic chair, which optimizes your posture and provides lumbar support for lower back aches. Set the height so that the keyboard is below your elbow-height, meaning your arm bend is greater than 90 degrees. Position the monitor just below eye level and use a phone headset instead of cradling the receiver against your ear.

Man in office with low back pain

How to Diagnose and Fix Your Back Pain

Read article

At the gym

Inadequate strength and flexibility in your core and back is the number one reason for back pain, Marcus says. Healthy muscle isn’t just strong; it’s also relaxed. “Focusing on strength without respecting flexibility is a big mistake,” he says. It goes without saying that aiming for weightlifting PRs to the detriment of technique is an express track to injury.

And employ smart back practices during cardio, too. When you’re on a machine, especially an elliptical or stair climber, resist the urge to lean over the front handlebar. You’re robbing yourself of full cardio potential and putting unnecessary stress on your spine. Instead, stay tall, with shoulders back and arms at your sides, which works your core, too.

Do this back workout to add strength and flexibility.

Lat Roll

How Mobility Training Can Prevent Injuries and Make You Stronger

Read article

At home

Start your day with some exercise—a serious workout, shooting hoops, a 15-minute walk—to wake up your joints, says Rami Said, D.P.T., of the Columbia University Department of Neurological Surgery. Then stretch if it feels good. And when you get home from work, it’s OK to flop on the couch and rewatch a few episodes of Stranger Things, so long as you get up and move about every 20 minutes.

Just as your back needs to stay active during the day, it also needs to move during the night, Marcus says. That’s where your mattress comes in. If it’s too soft, you sink in and usually stay in one position. Opt for one that’s slightly firm, which encourages your body to adjust positions during the night.

Bare-chested man touching his back, rear view

Have Back Pain? These Are the Basic Spinal Structures You Need to Know

Read article

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!