Let’s talk about an easy way to prevent back pain at your desk. If you’re like most Americans, you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk, for extended periods of time.

Now, let’s talk about where this back pain is stemming from. Picture the human skeleton in your head. Note the skull, the ribcage beneath it, below that is the lower spine or the lumbar vertebrae, and then below that is the pelvis.

We all know there are no bones where your belly is. And if there are no bones there, what is holding you up? Yes, it’s your abdominals! There are a lot of little muscles that help keep you stacked up, but basically, it’s your abdominals. What’s located behind your belly and your organs? Your lower spine is located there, which is where most people feel their pain. If your abs aren’t in good shape, the entire upper half of your body is being held up by your lower spine…specifically five vertebrae. That’s a lot of pressure on five little bones.

When you’re sitting at your desk, not engaging your abs, and forcing your lower five vertebrae to hold up your entire upper body, your back is going to hurt – plain and simple.  Next time you’re sitting at your desk, try this exercise: Sit up as tall as you can without letting your back hit the back of the chair. Simply relax your belly, and then pull it in towards your spine as hard as you can, hold for five seconds and then let it release back out. Do these five second pulses about 20-30 times to start awakening your abdominals to remind them to hold your upper body.

The best part about this exercise is no one will even notice what you’re up to. The only thing someone might notice is that you are sitting up taller in your chair, and that’s not a bad thing. In order for this to be an effective exercise, I want you to make it a habit. So every day after your 11 am meeting, I want you to make it a routine to do a set of pulses. That’s all. See what a difference it will make for you!

Now, it’s your turn: what exercises do you do at your desk? Any that help relieve chronic back pain? Tell me your stories in the Comments section below.