person sitting beside table

Back pain and headaches are the most common pain in today’s world. More than 50 percent of people say they suffer back pain at least occasionally. Women are affected somewhat more frequently. This is largely due to the way people live and work. Many male and female employees work largely in a seated position. Office work, for example, is very widespread. However, sitting for long periods leads to many physical and psychological problems. Especially if the workplace is not ergonomically designed. But it is not only the choice of the right office equipment that can remedy or even prevent problems. The right behavior of employees during working hours and afterward is also important for a healthy and pain-free everyday life.

The ergonomic workplace

An improperly designed workstation significantly worsens the back discomfort of prolonged sitting. For example, an unsuitable desk and office chair can lead to severe tension and incorrect strain. Setting up the workplace as ergonomically as possible is not as difficult as it sounds at first.

Sedentary workstation

Most conventional workplaces are set up for sedentary work. To enable optimal and back-friendly work, a few things should be considered. The lower and upper thighs and the lower and upper arm should form a 90-degree angle. The shoulders should drop relaxed, and the soles of the feet should rest completely on the floor. The backrest must relieve the back and allow a straight and upright seat. Thus, it should be set at 95 to 105 degrees. Optimally, the office chair has armrests.

Standing workstation

For more variety, more and more companies are setting up standing workstations, the standing desk for employees. A standing desk enables a standing working position. Getting good advice from a professional to find the best standing desk for the workplace is worthwhile. Ideally, the desk is height-adjustable to adjust the individual working height. How large the work surface needs to be here depends greatly on the space required for computers, files, and other materials. However, a larger standing desk ensures more freedom of movement and varied movement sequences.

The combination makes the difference.

A standing desk is very helpful for varied work. But there should still be the option of sitting. Because standing at a desk all the time can also lead to strain and tension. Combined work desks are a good option. These can be conveniently adjusted electrically in height and can thus be used as a standing desk and a sitting workstation.

Movement, movement, and more movement

Office work, in particular, tempts people to move too little. The body quickly gets used to this way of life and initially copes well with the lack of exercise. The muscles become weaker, and there is less desire to perform strenuous movements. But this is a vicious circle. This is because the reduction in musculature reduces the body’s holding power, and the strain on bones and intervertebral discs increases. The internal organs also become sluggish, restricting blood circulation and digestion. Over time, the symptoms then accumulate. Back pain, digestive disorders, less fitness and mobility, sleep disturbances, and many other problems occur.

Take exercise breaks during working hours.

Small movement breaks should be taken repeatedly when frequently sitting during working hours. Even if an ergonomically designed workstation with a standing desk and optimized chair are good support, an extra trip to the filing cabinet, an additional trip to the kitchenette, or a short walk during the coffee break can provide some exercise. Taking the stairs instead of the usual elevator also provides small exercise and increases circulation.

Short back exercises at work

In addition to exercise breaks, such as a short walk during the break or an extra trip to the copier, targeted back exercises can also provide more movement at the workplace. Employees can choose from a whole range of different exercises. You can take a class or read online to find the right exercises.

Change sitting position

Even with an ergonomic office chair, the sitting position should be changed occasionally. Sometimes you can sit only on the edge of the chair, sometimes on the entire seat. Even occasional flopping and dropping into the office chair is permitted. This dynamic sitting prevents one-sided strain on the spine and can reduce back pain.

Unobtrusive exercises

Those who are uncomfortable doing back exercises at work can do so unobtrusively. Stretching and lolling relax the muscles. By stretching the spine lengthwise, imagining that a thread is attached to the back of the head, and pulling the entire back towards the office ceiling, the spine can be stretched and thus brought out of an incorrect posture.

Back exercises

More noticeable exercises are equally possible and helpful. Rolling the pelvis or rolling in and out of the entire back will re-energize the muscles. A varied and carefully performed exercise session does not have to take long and supports the entire body.

Avoid stress

Even if it sounds strange: avoiding stress helps to protect the back. This is because constant stress causes tension in the muscles. The back, lumbar region, shoulders, and neck are particularly affected. When stressed, the brain sends signals to the muscles, which tense up. If the stress persists and becomes permanent, the muscles also relax poorly. These tensions do not only affect well-being. People tend to take evasive action when there is painful muscle tension. This makes the problem even worse. In the case of stress, targeted relaxation exercises should address the state of tension.

Sport after work

After a long day at the office, a sporty balance can do a lot. The type of sport chosen here depends entirely on one’s own enthusiasm and physical conditions. Yoga, for example, can have a very relaxing and stress-reducing effect. But also walking or sports with more action provide the necessary movement. In any case, you should start slowly. Especially if you have had a little exercise for a long time, your body has to get used to the change.


Creating a good and healthy working atmosphere for yourself and your back, it takes a little effort. However, it will improve the quality of life and keep your back healthy. Optimizing the workplace with a standing desk and ergonomic office furniture is the first step towards a healthy and relaxed back. Furthermore, the lack of movement during working hours should be compensated by exercise breaks and sports by the end of the working day.