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Advice from the National Spine Health Foundation

The National Spine Health Foundation recently released advice for those of us who are working or learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their guide, named Save Our Spines, or SOS, outlines a few simple tips to help keep a healthy spine in these new times.

In this guide SOS not only stands for “Save Our Spines” but it’s also an acronym to help people remember these helpful tips, “Stretch, Optimize, Stand”.

S = Stretch

When we sit in front of a computer we don’t always remember to practice good posture. (Read more about why posture is so important for our spines.) Sitting for hours with poor posture can cause stiffening in our spine and lead to aches and pains. Stretching a few times throughout the day can help keep us loose and our joints healthy. Check out some healthy stretches for your spine.

O = Optimize

Speaking of posture, if you’re going to be working all day in one location, take steps to optimize your workspace so you’re practicing good posture. Your chair should provide good lumbar support and allow you to sit with your legs at a 90 degree angle, feet flat on the floor. If your feet don’t reach the floor use a box or footstool. Your elbows should also be at about a 90 degree angle when accessing the keyboard, mouse, or notebook on your desk. The monitor height should be adjusted such that, when sitting up properly, your eyes are the same height as the top of the monitor. If you’re using a laptop sitting on a desk you’ll be forced to look down at the screen. This often results is neck pain. (Read more detailed tips on maintaining good desk posture.)

S = Stand

Regardless how optimized your workstation is, sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for your body. A phrase that has been thrown around lately is “sitting is the new smoking”. What people are referring to is the fact that sitting for hours and hours at a time without standing isn’t good for us. Our bodies need to move and stay loose. The National Spine Health Foundation recommends standing at least once every hour. They also recommend taking short breaks for a quick walk or bike ride to help stay healthy.

These don’t seem like normal times, but everyone keeps talking about the “new normal”. Whether we’re in this “normal” for a few months or indefinitely, we need to be able to adjust our behavior to keep a healthy body and spine. These tips from the National Spine Health Foundation should help.


  • https://spinehealth.org/tips-for-distance-learning-a-spine-health-guide/
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery