Sitting at your desk all day may not seem physically demanding, but sitting most of your day can take a toll on your body. This puts you at risk for muscle strains, herniated discs, and other related back pain and health issues. Some common areas of pain from sitting at a desk include the neck, back, shoulders, and spinal disks. Protect your overall health by mitigating these conditions.
Here at Auburn Chiropractic Associates, we have compiled a list of actions you can take to prevent pain and discomfort while working at an office job. These tips are very simple and can make a big difference for your overall comfort and health.
1. Have an ergonomic workspace
Basic activities you do at work may be straining your back. Simply lifting a phone repetitively or looking continuously at your computer screen can lead to pain and stiffness. It is very beneficial to structure your workstation so that your daily tasks are completed efficiently without stressing and straining your body. Try to avoid overreaching to obtain pens and pencils, the keyboard, phones, and any other office supplies that you use frequently.
Here are some tips for making these office supplies more easily accessible:
- Position your frequently used desk supplies and devices within your comfortable reach. These items may include your keyboard, files, phone, printer, tape, stapler, pens, etc.
- Change the monitor height to eye level so your neck and back remain up-right, avoiding unnecessary tilting or straining of the neck, back, and shoulders.
- Change the brightness of your computer screens. When the lighting is too low, you are more likely to lean forward. This applies to font size as well and can always be adjusted on your computer.
- Position your elbows to be at a 75-90 degree angle when your hands are placed on your desk. This will determine how close your chair is to the desk.
2. Invest in a good desk chair
While at work, you spend almost all of your day sitting in a desk chair. To promote a healthier workplace, make sure your chair is comfortable and can be adjusted to support your lower back.
Your chair height should be adjusted to enable your feet to be flat on the floor and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Your chair should provide lumbar support to avoid pressure on your lower spine, and it should have armrests so you can give your shoulders a break.
3. Improve your posture
As mentioned earlier, positioning your monitor at eye level is ideal for your back so you are not leaning too much. This helps to improve your desk posture! To achieve better posture at your desk, keep your back against the chair, your shoulders directly over your hips, and your head over your shoulders. We also suggest that you keep your feet flat on the ground and avoid crossing your legs. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle if possible or use a footrest.
4. Take breaks from sitting
Try to change the position you are in throughout the day. This could mean standing up while you are on the phone or taking a break. Try to walk during breaks, or at least change your position. This is important because it allows you to loosen your back muscles by moving more frequently.
Here is a list of 5 exercises you can do to relieve common areas of pain from sitting at your desk:
- To relieve lower back pain and tension, rock your pelvis back and forth in your desk chair, tilting your hips forward and backward. This will help stretch tight muscles and reduce lower back pain and tension.
- To combat wrist strain, place your hands in a prayer position at your chest and bring them to the reverse position so your fingers are facing down. This should give you a stretch in your wrist and your forearm. Hold this stretch for 4-5 seconds.
- To release neck pain, the neck retraction stretch is recommended. While standing or sitting, slowly push your head forward and stick your chin out as far as possible. Reverse the movement and slowly pull your chin in while your head glides back. You will feel this at the base of your neck. Repeat this 5 times.
- To avoid severe eye strain, you should look away from your screen and into the distance every 20-30 minutes. This could be out your window, at a painting, or even a blank wall. As long as you are looking away from the screen at a distant object, your eyes will get the break they need.
- To create more comfort in your hips, you should stretch your hip flexors. To do this, kneel on your right knee as you extend the left leg forward with your left knee at a 90-degree angle. While in this position, keep your left knee over your ankle as you gently push your right hip forward. You should feel a mild stretch of your right hip flexors. Be careful not to bounce. You should do this stretch on each side three times, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
How we can help
If you have an office job that takes a toll on your body, Auburn Chiropractic Associates is here to help. We offer a variety of therapeutic services to treat your pain and overall health concerns. Improper workstation ergonomics can lead to chronic pain which will affect your overall health and productivity. Don’t let this insidious process damage your health and job performance! Auburn Chiropractic Associates will strive to assist you towards optimal health by preventing pain and dysfunction. We emphasize prevention and conservative health management with chiropractic treatment. Contact us today for more information or request an appointment online! You may also reach us at 334-826-2225.