Is Your Desk Job Causing You Pain?
Working at a desk may not be physically strenuous work, however it can still lead to aches and pains. A few of the pains that can be caused by a desk job include:
- Achy fingers and wrists from typing
- Back ache/neck pain from poor seated posture
- Leg cramps from poorly positioned legs
- Eye strain and headaches from staring at a screen
Many of these pains can be prevented by making small changes to the way you work. Below are just a few tips for preventing pain caused by your desk job.
Adopt a healthy sitting position
An unhealthy sitting position is more likely to lead to repetitive strain injuries. Consider whether you are sitting comfortably and whether you need to correct your posture.
First, consider whether you need to change your chair. A good office chair should have a backrest that supports the entire back and should be height adjustable. If you are quite short, it could be important to have a chair with a footrest.
When sitting at a desk, your back should be straight and firmly against the backrest of your chair. You shouldn’t be leaning forward as this will lead to back pain. You should try to keep your head back in order to prevent neck pain. Your body shouldn’t be twisted – you should be facing the same direction as your knees.
Your elbows should be level with your keyboard so as to not cause pain in your arms when typing. The top of your computer monitor should be level with your eyes. Adjust the height of your chair in order to get the right height or use a height-adjustable desk/height-adjustable monitor.
Make sure that your legs are flat on the floor or flat on a footrest. They shouldn’t be curled up beneath your chair as this could lead to cramps in your legs. Make sure that you have enough legroom under your desk.
Regularly take a break
Taking a break from work every so often will also help to prevent aches and pains.
To prevent eye strain, consider the 20/20/20 rule. This involves looking away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and focusing on an object 20 feet away. There are other ways to reduce the risk of eye strain while staring at a screen for long periods, but the 20/20/20 rule is one of the easiest and most effective solutions.
You should also get up from your desk every hour or so to walk around and stretch your legs. Physical activity will prevent muscles from seizing up and will help with circulation. Physical activity is also important for reducing weight gain – consider making time for some brief exercise during your lunch break (never eat at your desk. Use the opportunity to go for a brisk walk).
Seek treatment for repetitive strain injuries
If you’ve already developed a repetitive strain injury that results in chronic pain, you may want to seek our professional treatment options. Chiropractors can help with many types of joint pains such as back pain or elbow pain.
A doctor may be able to recommend other forms of treatment for issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome or severe back pain. This includes injections or even surgery.