How to avoid back pain

Health measures linked to the pandemic have recently forced several people to work from home. However, a non-ergonomic workspace and significant stress are the cause of many back pain. Sylvain Guimond, doctor in sports psychology and specialist in biomechanics, has several recommendations to help you avoid them.

• Read also – Containment: more back pain from telework

• Read also – Six tips for working efficiently from home

According to the specialist, our posture and our state of mind are intertwined. Thus, to avoid back pain, it is essential to ensure not only good ergonomics, but also a good psychological state.

The basics of ergonomics

It seems that four out of five people have had, have or will have back pain during their lifetime. “The majority of back pain is caused by great muscle tension, which is due to poor posture when you are sitting, standing or lying down, but also to stress, which causes muscle contractions,” explains Mr. Guimond. When you live under stress, you become tense both physically and psychologically. Each person manages anxiety according to their personality: our stress response is inspired 50% by genetics and 50% by the education we have received. “

The biomechanics expert goes on to say that more introverted people often suffer from back pain. “When they sit down, their head is tilted forward, and the weight of the head is 8% of that of the body. If the head is not completely positioned above the shoulders, there is tension on the cervical vertebrae. And so that the head does not fall forward, the muscles behind the neck will contract. If they are contracted for too long, lactic acid will build up in them, which will cause a lot of fatigue. “

To avoid this, the screen must be raised so that the eyes are at the top three-quarters of the screen. Elbows and knees should be bent 90 degrees. The lumbar support must also keep the back straight. “People who work on a laptop should have a separate keyboard to raise the computer to the correct height. If this is not possible, it is suggested to warm up before settling at your desk and to get up every 10-15 minutes to move and stretch again to recalibrate the muscles to zero. Doing so avoids a cumulative of muscle contractions. “

Keep morale

If having good posture is essential to avoid back pain, taking care of your psychological state is just as important. To do this, planning your work well is important. “We can prepare a list of things to do to be more effective. You also have to keep the same pace as at work, where you get up to go get a coffee, to talk to a colleague … At home, without outside interaction, it’s easier to stay long at your job. work, which is not desirable. “

Before starting to work, Mr. Guimond suggests practicing meditation, conscious breathing or cardiac coherence to do a cognitive reframing. “We have between 50,000 and 65,000 thoughts a day, each of which is associated with emotions. For example, if there are things that bother us about containment, it may occupy our thoughts more. We then become tense because we are unhappy. It is important to grieve for what life was like before COVID-19. We don’t know what will happen in the future, and uncertainty creates concern. But you have to learn to show a certain detachment and resilience, because if you stay angry, you will be unhappy, and this may increase tensions and pain. “

To discover Sylvain Guimond’s lectures or books, visit his website,

The four types of postures

  • The first is the upright posture. It’s the ideal posture, and about 20% of the population has it naturally. Only 20% of people with a straight back suffer from back pain. From a psychological point of view, they are most often extroverted people.
  • The second combines hyperlordosis and hypercyphosis, which are exaggerated curvatures of the spine. This category includes very tense people with a boiling and demanding character. They are also more prone to cardiovascular problems.
  • The third brings together people who have their backs straight with a translation from the pelvis to the back. People with this posture have little lumbar curve and they are mostly introverted and quite flexible.
  • The fourth has a flat back, but with a forward translation of the pelvis. People with this posture are also introverted, but have a slightly more rigid personality. They also react strongly to stress.

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