Most of our work positions are sedentary, largely impacting our lifestyle and health. Staring at the computer screen from 10 to 6 is a regular routine, which causes mental and heart problems, neck, back and lower back pains. Muscles burn less fat, allowing fatty acids to clog the heart and increase the risk of high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Such people are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Moreover, sitting at your desk for hours on end can make the brain foggy and reduce cognitive abilities. Basically, when our body moves, muscles pump fresh blood and oxygen through brain. However, a stable position slows down the working process of the brain.
Detailing sitting problems:
It is very difficult and even impossible for anyone to get away from the use of computers these days because of work pressure and other personal reasons. Basically, usage of computers in a sedentary position for extended periods of time can wreak one’s posture and leads to back pain. This problem is pretty common and affects most people at some point in their life time. You can experience dull aches, sharp or burning sensation in the back that originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. The pain may radiate into the arms, hands, legs or feet, neck and lower back.
Elaborating back pain:
Sitting at your desk all day long is not good for your overall health and can certainly lead to back pain. In various studies, it has been proved that sitting in one position increases pressure on the disks supporting the spine, which bents your spine in a bent forward position and may cause the back muscles to stop working efficiently. Moreover, back pain is the fifth common reason for physician visits in the United States. Most of the cases of back pain are caused by bad seating positions at work or school, slouching postures and over-stretching.
Dealing with back pain at office:
Below are some of the simple stretching exercises that help in eliminating back pain:
- Just stand up and sit down – Keep stretching your body just by standing up or sitting down (over and over) without using your hands.
- Leg extensions – You just have to grab the seat of your chair and brace yourself by extending your legs straight out in front of you. Just flex and point your toes five times and then release. This exercise will definitely help in reducing back strain.
- Stretch your back and shoulders – You can do leg hug by sitting on the edge of your chair by putting it against the desk or wall. Lean over your chest to the knees by putting your feet together, flat on the floor. After that, bring your hands behind your legs by grasping left wrist with right hand forearm and left hand grasping the right.
Neck pain or stiff neck is common among the office goers and usually gets better in a few days. Sleeping in an awkward position and working on a computer keyboard for a prolonged period are the main reasons of stiff neck. Basically, neck pain is caused due to the pain and stiffness in back.
Dealing with neck pain:
If you’re experiencing neck pain or you would like to prevent it, do the below mentioned exercises as many times a day. Each exercise session will not take more than five minutes. You can start with:
- Neck retraction – You can do this exercise while lying face up or sitting down. All you need to do is bring your head straight back, keeping your eyes on the horizon. Then return to neutral position. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times to feel relaxed.
- Side bend – In this exercise, you just have to sit down and bring your neck in a retracted position. Gently guide right ear to the right shoulder with right hand and stop whenever you feel stretched on left side of your neck.
Detailing lower back pain:
Sitting in an office chair for long periods of time may definitely cause lower back pain because static posture that increases stress in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs, add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Further, lower back pain generates when people slouch over or slouch down in the chair, which overstretches their spinal ligaments and strain the discs. It has been reported that lower back pain alone causes 40% of missed days of work in the United States and is the single leading cause of disability around the world.
Dealing lower back pain:
Various stretches and exercises are mentioned below to deal with lower back pain at office or home:
- Keep your feet flat on the floor – To achieve good and effective results, try to keep your feet flat on the floor. This exercise totally depends on how high your chair is. Keep adjusting the height of your chair as per your convenience.
- Change posture at intervals – Sitting in the same position for long hours is not healthy. Try to maintain an upright position for most part of the day.
- Find time to stand – After an hour of work, take a 5 minute break and go for a short walk.
- Adjust your chair arm rests – Adjust the armrest of the chair so they lift your shoulders slightly. It is very helpful for you because a little lift can give extra support for your wrists.
How to sit at work to avoid back pain?
Ergonomics help the human body to promote productivity and health. This term is often used in the workplaces and offices, because people who sit for 8 hours a day are especially prone to injury from unhealthy postures. Below are many tips and suggestions that you can do to adjust your desk and sit in a healthy way:
- Stay active to reduce back pain – No matter how comfortable you chair is, prolonged static posture is not good for the back, so avoid keeping the back in one position for a long period.
- Monitor within reach – Keep your monitor about an arm’s length away or slightly below eye level. This will hold you to sit back and also reduces back and neck strain.
- Buy a headset if you talk on phone a lot – People talk on mobile phones holding them between their chin and shoulder, which is extremely bad for cervical spine and will result in neck pain or a repetitive stress injury. Instead, you can use headphones.
If you found this article helpful, then please share this article with any friends who are experiencing any back-related maladies. You can also post comments in case you have any health related queries.
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