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In a stagnant office environment, backache is becoming a common infliction among office workers.

In most of the cases, it is caused by wrong postures and movements, according to doctor and physical therapist Ho Thi Oanh.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that 80 percent of the world's population suffers from back pain at least once in their life.

The condition reduces workplace productivity and can lead to serious complications over time, such as joint degradation and the slip of vertebra, which are common reasons for job resignation of workers under 45 years of age.

The spinal cord forms curves at the neck, chest and belt areas that support the body and sustain daily movements. Sitting in bad positions can lead to a need of back surgery.

Doctor Oanh suggests people pay more attention to how they sit and try simple exercises to prevent backache.

Here are some of her tips:

- At your seat at work: Keep your knees at the same height as your hip, and let your shoulders fall naturally. Place your feet on a surface, and lean back closely to the chair to keep it straight. The chair back should share part of the body's weight. Avoid sitting far from the desk as your neck would have to bend down. If the neck moves five centimeters forward, it will have to carry a weight three times heavier. The height of the computer screen and the chair should be adjusted to avoid your neck bending or looking up.

- When walking and standing: Keep the ears, shoulders and hip on the same line. You can check your posture by standing close to a wall. Place your heels from five to ten centimeters away, and rest your shoulders and back loosely against the wall.

- When lying: Avoid spending a long time on hammocks and mattresses that are too soft. Choose thin pillows, and use a thinner one under the back of the knees to avoid pressure on the back. When lying to one side, the two legs need to curve a bit, parallel to the ears, shoulders and hip in one line.

- Avoid using your back for lifting and picking something up. Sudden movements at this posture can harm the spinal cord. You should lift things with your legs bent and hold items close to your body. Avoid lifting heavy items.

- Exercise gently with tasks like swimming or jogging to toughen muscles, so they can protect the spinal cord. Those already having backaches should consult a physiotherapist (physical therapist) for special exercises.

- Keep a balanced diet: Obese people usually have their spinal cord stretched too hard at the belt. Their belly and back muscles are weak and cannot protect the spinal cord properly.

Good habits should start at childhood, Oanh said.

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