Many people think that physical injuries are only sustained as the result of jarring impact events like auto collisions or slip and fall accidents. Injuries are also commonly attributed to aggressive physical exercise, heavy lifting, or forceful movement. What’s surprising to most is the fact that some of the worst injuries are actually sustained by sitting still. Prolonged periods of sitting down can wreak havoc on your lower lumbar spine. They can also lead to neck pain, shoulder discomfort, joint dysfunction at the wrist, headaches, and back spasms among many other problems. Thus, if you spend your workday sitting at a desk, you should take advantage of the five important tips that follow.
1. Get Up And Move Around Once Each Hour
Try to take two to five minutes every hour to get up and stretch. If your workday is a busy one, this might seem like a waste of precious time, but it can actually improve your productivity. Use your workspace to loosen up your back and leg muscles, perform a few squats, and engage in other basic movements. This is a great way to get your blood flowing, restore your focus, and prevent stiffness. It is also a chance to reset your posture.
2. Change Elevations As Often As Possible
Although your job requires you to spend long hours at your desk, this doesn’t necessarily mean having to pass the entire workday in a seated position. Consider creating a flexible workstation that includes a table or desk you can easily adjust to different heights. With these, office workers can type for several hours in a seated position and can then raise their work stations to a standing level. Alternating between sitting and standing will help balance the stress on your joints, muscles, and spine.
Moreover, many people find that these transitions also improve their focus. If an adjustable desk or table is not a feasible investment for you or your employer, try alternating between a standard desk chair and a balance ball. Balance balls make excellent work seats given that they engage the core muscles and promote good posture.
3. Use Ergonomic Equipment At Your Work Station
Ergonomic equipment is designed to offer reliable support to the wrists and other joints so that long periods spent sitting or engaging in repetitive motion activities do not cause physical injury. Wrist supports at your keyboard or an ergonomically designed keyboard will prevent problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, even if much of your day is spent typing. An ergonomic chair and floor mat will keep your back and hips from taking on undue strain while additionally making it easier for you to maintain proper posture.
For times that you spend standing at your desk, an ergonomic mat will limit the strain on your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Although these resources will require a little additional spending, they can help prevent the future costs of significant injury. As such, many employers will purchase these products on behalf of their employees whenever a need for them is expressed.
4. Engage In Activities For Ensuring Proper Alignment Of Your Spine
Despite your efforts to get up and stretch regularly and use supportive, ergonomic work equipment, back pain can still occur. Using proper posture while sitting is a continuous effort that requires strong core muscles and near-constant focus. Over time, this can lead to stress in the muscles that support your spine, back spasms, and other forms of discomfort. Practicing yoga or Pilates is a great way to improve your posture, develop essential core strength, and restore proper alignment.
To avoid discomfort entirely, however, those with sedentary desk jobs should additionally consult with a back pain chiropractor in Stockbridge GA, or wherever you live, consider the benefits of inversion table therapy, and invest in therapeutic massage. Being proactive in preventing back pain will stave sedentary injuries off, prevent the development of major spinal subluxations, promote higher levels of energy and mental focus, and provide many other benefits.
5. Check Your Screen Height And Foot Position
When spending any significant amount of time in a seated position, it is always best to have your feet placed flat on the floor. This helps prevent curvature of the lower lumbar spine and promotes good posture. It is additionally important to make sure that your screen height is such that you’re never craning your neck at an awkward angle in order to get a clear view.
This is especially problematic with laptops and hand-held devices like mobile phones. If you’re constantly looking downwards, you’re likely to develop tension across the shoulders, at the base of the neck, and across the upper and mid-portions of the back. Always try to keep any screen that you’re working on at eye-level.
You don’t have to be a serious athlete to deal with serious back pain. Even sitting still at a desk for long hours can leave your body feeling tired, stiff, and difficult to move. However, with the above strategies, you can avoid a host of alignment issues, maintain good flexibility, mobility, and balance. Best of all, you can also boost your overall productivity levels.