Doing a desk job might seem like it’s not strenuous work but sitting all day can wreak havoc on the back. Some symptoms of working a desk job include lower back pain, stiff neck muscles and Dowager’s Hump.
Practicing good posture, taking breaks and performing exercises are all helpful in preventing back pain while working a desk job.
Sit up straight
Slouching in your chair puts a strain on the ligaments and muscles in your back, resulting in pain. Maintaining a good posture will ensure that all of your muscles and bones stay in alignment, which will eliminate unnecessary stress and prevent back problems.
Sitting upright and resisting the temptation to slouch will make your lower back, hips, shoulders, spine, neck, and head feel better. It also ensures that you are getting enough oxygen-rich blood to your brain.
Choosing an ergonomic chair and desk will help you keep your back in the proper position while sitting. You should sit with your feet flat on the floor and try to avoid crossing them. Make sure that your monitor is at eye level so that you don’t have to look down or up to read it, which will put a lot of unwanted pressure on your neck and back.
If you are having trouble sitting up straight, you can try different stretches and exercises at your work desk to improve your posture. For instance, you can perform chin tucks, which will strengthen and improve the flexibility of your neck while relieving your back and shoulder pain. You can also get up periodically and walk around a bit to stretch out your entire body, which will provide your spine with some relief from all the sitting you do at work. Doing this on a regular basis will prevent your muscles and joints from becoming accustomed to sitting all day, which can lead to long-term health issues like Musculoskeletal Disorders.
When working a desk job, it is easy to become a victim of back pain. Slouching forward or slumping in your chair can cause the spine to be out of alignment which puts strain on muscles, ligaments and discs. Over time this can lead to long-term problems, especially when back pain can actually mimic lung pain.
Using the right chair and keeping your monitor at eye level can help improve posture. It is also important to keep your legs flat on the floor and not cross them. Keeping the shoulders back and relaxed can also decrease stress on the neck and shoulders. Using a document stand to hold paperwork can help reduce the amount of reaching and strain on the upper arms. Lastly, placing your keyboard and mouse where you can reach them easily without stretching the elbows out or backwards can help decrease shoulder and arm pain.
It is important to take a break every thirty minutes and move around. This will get the blood flowing in your body and increase circulation which can help prevent stiff, sore muscles. Even a short walk can make a big difference in the health of your back.
Taking steps to prevent back pain while working a desk job can ensure you are living your best life. If you are experiencing pain or want to learn more, contact a physical therapist today!
While sitting for a long period of time can cause back stiffness, moving and stretching during the day can help prevent it. The best way to keep back pain at bay is to do a little bit of movement every hour. If you’re in an office setting, this can be as simple as getting up to get a glass of water or walking around the room during one-on-one meetings.
A lack of movement is a common factor in back issues for those who work desk jobs. This is because sitting for long periods of time puts a lot of pressure on the spine and back muscles, especially if a person has poor posture or slouches. Using the computer keyboard and mouse for extended periods of time can also contribute to back problems. The best way to help prevent this is to use a mouse with an ergonomic design and take breaks often to stretch the wrists and shoulders.
For those who are at a desk job that allows for a standing desk, it is recommended to alternate between sitting and standing. Ideally, for each hour of work it is recommended to spend 20 minutes sitting and 8 minutes standing. This helps to keep the blood flowing throughout the body and prevents back stiffness. If you’re not able to do this at your office, try taking a walk or going for a short bike ride during the day.
Don’t overdo it
When working in a desk job, it is easy to overwork muscles because the work doesn’t feel strenuous. For example, if you have to look down at a computer monitor all day, you can strain your neck because you are having to hold it in a certain position. If you have to reach for a mouse or keyboard frequently, you can strain your wrists and shoulders because you are using the same muscles over and over again.
This is why it’s so important to take breaks and move around at work. Even walking for thirty or sixty seconds every ten minutes to stretch your wrists, shoulders, and back can help prevent RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) from occurring. You can also vary your movements at work by typing for a while, then reading, taking notes by hand, or organizing papers.
When you do have to stand for a period of time, try to do so only until you feel tired, then sit (with good posture) for a few minutes. Then walk around again and stretch your muscles. You can even use a stand-up or sit-stand workstation at work to help you with this. Research shows that this can help to reduce back pain and prevent muscle fatigue. It can be difficult to change your office habits, but incorporating the tips above into your routine can make a difference. Try them out and see for yourself!
Don’t overwork your muscles
A common reason people suffer from back pain when working at a desk is that they are overworking their muscles. Although sitting at a computer all day doesn’t sound strenuous, your muscles are still doing work to support your head and neck in the proper position while typing, clicking the mouse and reaching for items on shelves or in cabinets. The more they are worked, the more likely it is to cause problems like pain in the upper back, neck, arms or legs.
Changing positions often helps prevent this overworking and strain. It is recommended to spend 5-10 minutes standing, walking and stretching for every hour you sit. This movement will promote healthy blood flow to your spinal discs, tendons and ligaments. It is also a good idea to try a stand-up desk or at least perch your laptop on a tall filing cabinet or kitchen counter to make sure you change positions regularly.
Using these tips to modify your workspace can help prevent back pain, but it is important to remember that ergonomics are not just about your office chair and desk setup, they are also about your overall work habits. We need to shift our mindset and start thinking about how we adapt to the workplace instead of trying to force ourselves to work in an uncomfortable environment. Talk to a back specialist at SSI if you are struggling with back pain and want to learn more about how to prevent it.
Many of the patients we see at our practice work at desk jobs that seem to be harmless enough. However, sitting for long periods of time causes problems like tight shoulders and neck muscles, a Dowager’s hump, lower back pain, wrist pain and poor posture. It is also common for desk workers to skip taking regular breaks. Studies have shown that even short breaks can help improve productivity, concentration and overall physical fitness.
It is a good idea to plan your breaks into your calendar and set up reminders on your phone or computer. This will make it much easier to stick to your break schedule.
When you do take a break, be sure to move around and change the scenery. Try walking, climbing or doing some active stretching.
We all know how important it is to stay physically fit, but it is equally as important to maintain a healthy mental state. If you feel that your mental health is suffering, consider talking to a professional counselor. They can help you find healthy ways to deal with stress that can prevent your mental and physical health from suffering as a result. Incorporating these tips into your daily routine will not only prevent back pain but may also help relieve any discomfort you are experiencing at the moment. If your pain persists or worsens, contact a specialist at SSI.