Sure, you could pop some ibuprofen. Of course, you could get a massage. Maybe you could even see your chiro more regularly. For the unlucky few though, they might have to make use of places like the Scoliosis Institute to help them get the surgery (but this is only for major back issues). Having said that though, dealing with back pain may actually be as simple as standing up from your desk chair, couch, or driver’s seat every few hours.

Dr. Michael Schafer, who will present his research at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conference this weekend, says being sedentary takes its toll on the back. This is especially an issue who for those people who sit in front of a computer all day. Even if your job or daytime hours are active, spending hours each evening planted in front of the television or hunched over the laptop can’t be serving your back well.

Pain could be prevented, however, by standing to take breaks rather than staying seated.

“If people would get up and move around for 30- to 40-minute intervals, they’d wind up buying themselves a lot of time. With sitting, you put more stress on your spine than if you’re walking or standing,” Schafer notes.

The 2009 National Health Interview Survey conducted by Prevention and the CDC showed that lower back aching is the most common kind of pain adults experience, with women complaining about it slightly more than men.

While the solution to simply stand up periodically may sound like a snap, executing it may not feel realistic for your schedule.

Here are ten ways to follow the good doctor’s advice and hopefully, prevent or alleviate your back agony without more pills or big bills.

Set a cell phone alarm (or three)
I am a big believer in using your cell phone as a tool to take better care of yourself. Since most smart phones offer unlimited alarms, set them as just-irritating-enough reminders to stand up, stretch, go for a walk, and exercise. Eventually, you may not need that Black Eyed Peas ring tone to force you out of your chair every hour.
Walk and talk
Turn your back-to-back conference calls into an opportunity to be better to your back. Plug in your headset and hit the hallways or street. Just be sure to keep the creepy factor in check by not walking so fast and furious you pant into the mic. Ew.
Use software to force breaks on yourself
Download software that offers nice reminders, guides you through standing stretches, or goes so far as to black out your screen at pre-set intervals throughout the day. It’s OK if you get irritated at the little box who insists you pause for 5 minutes in 4…3…2… Just don’t let yourself hit “ignore” or try to hack around the software you installed yourself. Instead, give it a few weeks. You will probably notice an adjustment in your body and your attitude.
Hide the remote (on purpose, this time)
If your evenings are spent clicking through channels, force yourself to get off the couch by putting away the remote. Standing up to switch shows and go through one channel at a time may seem tedious but will also serve your body well.
Stop sitting through commercials
No one’s asking you to cut back on TV, but do use the commercial breaks to stretch your legs, grab a glass of water, wash a few dishes, file some papers or even do some squats. Not only might you prevent back pain, you will see other health benefits from being more hydrated, squeezing in extra exercise, and easing the stress of household clutter.

Doesn’t this lady look productive? And pain-free? Even if you can’t convince your boss to invest in a fancy standing desk to squeeze in your cubicle, perhaps you can make the case for one station where employees can trade off having time out of their seats. The use of modernised office furniture within the office could make all the difference for anyone who suffered from back pain and hopefully increase productivity. Or if you’re setting up a work-from-home station, use the opportunity to make your space work for your back as well as your business.

Dr. Schafer has seen this make a big difference and notes, “A number of my patients who would usually be doing a great deal of sitting have been helped tremendously by standing desks.” Check out the Desk range from HADO to find the perfect standing desk for your needs.

Take it to a whole other level

This lady probably isn’t doing her body a lot of good by walking in those flippy shoes, and I can’t imagine very many of us really want to hoof it all day long. But treadmill desks are available for about $400 if you are one of those people who wants to put more work into your working out.

Plus, think of the healthy peer pressure! I bet while this lady’s changing into proper walking shoes, Larry’s totally going to feel compelled to hop on for a bit.

Hold your meetings on the move
Make an office-wide effort to fight back pain by agreeing to hold some of your meetings on foot. And since no one will get too relaxed, meetings on the move might just make your meetings more efficient, too.
Schedule tasks you can do on the treadmill

If you’re lucky enough to have a treadmill at home, in the fitness center in your building, or crammed into some corner of the office storage space, this could be a great option for you. Keep a pile of mail to read, reports to catch up on, or People magazines to flip through and designate a time or few during the day when you walk (slowly, carefully) on the treadmill while you get to all that. You will be productive while preventing pain and finally putting that dusty exercise machine thingy to use.

Do take safety precautions like holding the handlebars as necessary and skip to another tip if you have balance challenges or other issues that will interfere with treadmill multi-tasking.

Put a ban on the bad office coffee
Isn’t it time to give up those fourteen stops in the office kitchen for watery coffee? Yes, you will be reducing your caffeine intake (scary!). But you’ll also get in some time on your feet when you take scheduled walks to the (much better!) coffee place three blocks away. Also, it’s time away from annoying loud-talker guy in the cube next to you (bonus!).