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Ask Men's Fitness: How Can I Protect My Back at Work?

Change up your seat routine to nip the pain in the bud before it even begins.

My back is always hurting from sitting at my desk all day. I know I shouldn’t slouch, but is there something else I can do to protect my back? -GEOFFREY S., SAN JOSE, CA

Sitting puts more pressure on the spine than standing, as the muscles that are normally engaged to support the spine turn off and cause strain. The solution lies in active sitting. “Scoot forward in the chair so your back doesn’t touch the backrest, and if your seat allows it, drop it down in front,” says Jay Dicharry, M.P.T., S.C.S., director of biomechanics at Rebound Physical Therapy in Bend, OR. “This requires the muscles to be actively engaged.” For further relief, sit on an inflated exercise ball a few hours a day.

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