Are you confused about why you’re experiencing back or neck pain, when you have a white-collar job? Whether you work from a home office or a cubical in a high rise, your desk job may be to blame. The main culprits are sitting for extended periods of time and needing to strain in order to utilize necessary tech tools. The good news is that implementing a few new routines and re-designing your work space can go a long way toward alleviating back and shoulder pain and preventing injury.
Standing Up More Often
When you read that sitting for long periods of time may be contributing to back pain, you may have thought to yourself that you simply cannot avoid that situation. Think again! Standing desks are becoming trendy in some places, and even where they’re not, most employers would be hard-pressed to come up with legitimate reasons for you not to use this healthier alternative to the sit-down desk. Instead of a standing desk, you could at least lessen the effects of long bouts of sitting by taking breaks once in a while. You could stand to read hard-copy documents or when you’re on a phone call. You could also set a timer to alert you to walk around for a few minutes, every hour.
Adjusting Workspace Height
Many office workers with strained backs or necks can point back to constantly hunching or shrugging shoulders in order to reach their keyboards or workspaces. Making adjustments to monitor or keyboard heights can make the difference between pain and comfort. The ideal office design will allow your legs enough space to move and your feet to be a shoulder’s width apart. Your keyboard, mouse, and general work surface will be at a height that allows shoulders to relax and elbows to be at a 90-degree angle. (A work surface that’s too low will force you to hunch your shoulders, while one that’s too high will cause you to shrug them. Both those positions cause constant muscular contraction, resulting in tired muscles that are unable to protect your spine.
Changing Monitor Location
Another cause of back and neck pain is poorly positioned computer monitors that cause workers to crane their necks in order to view them. Ideally, monitors should be directly in front of your body, about an arm’s length away, even with your line of sight, and level with your eyes. Ideal positioning of your monitor will prevent you from having to crane your neck, lean forward, twist your body, crane your neck, or slouch in order to view it properly.
When you take care to stand more often, adjust workspace height, and ensure that your monitor height is optimal, you’ll be well on your way to achieving better spine health as well as pain-free work days
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.
Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their site at PhysioDC.com or call them at 202-223-8500.
From the PhysioDC blog:
- I’ve got frozen shoulder; what should I do?
- What to expect with hip labral repair rehabilitation
- Is there a genetic link to back pain?
Photo credits: Top © Daniel Heywood / Fotolia. Middle © tiero / Fotolia. Bottom © PhysioDC.
Leave a Reply