Which of these two people are most likely to develop chronic back pain later in life?
B. A Secretary in a modern office
The answer, of course, is B. An office secretary, or business executive, or anyone who spends most of his or her time at work sitting, is far more likely to develop back and neck pain than a physically active worker.
Here are three of the major workplace contributors to back pain:
- Slouching forward in your chair
- Holding your telephone between your ear and your shoulder
- Lack of movement during the work day
So, why are you still just sitting there. Get active now! Here are some ideas from San Francisco State University’s Dr. Erik Peper
1.) Support the natural curve of your spine! Office chairs should have lumbar support, a natural forward curve at belly button level. You can also put a pillow or rolled up towel behind your back to achieve this effect.
2.) Adjust the height of your chair so you can keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at 90-degree angles. You can also rest your feet on a prop, like a footrest or even a phone book, for extra support. Crossing your legs tightly reduces circulation in your legs and causes varicose veins, which look dark blue on your skin!
3.) Remove or lower the armrests so your arms are at 90-degree angles. This will encourage you to hold your shoulders low, which your good for your upper back.
4.) Keep your monitor about an arms length away and at or slightly below eye level. This will encourage you to sit back, instead of lean forward and reduces neck strain.
Stand Up and move around
Sitting (or even standing) in one position for an 8 hour workday can be very hard on your body!
1.) Take short breaks, once every hour to use the restroom, get a glass of water, walk down the hallway, or just stretch. Sitting for long periods of time will weaken the muscles in your back. Stretching for just 60 seconds will counter the bad effects of long periods of just sitting.
2.) Research suggests that about half your hours at work should be spent standing up. If you have a sit-stand workstation, alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
3.) Strengthening your core muscles with exercise, such as yoga, pilates or sit-ups works your stomach as well your back, which naturally improves your posture and reduces pain.
Workspace Solutions in Fort Wayne, IN, has ergonomic chairs, workstations and office desks that can help keep office workers healthy and happy. Contact us to discuss how we can help your employees avoid the long term health issues that come from sitting all day long at work.
What ideas do you have for keeping active and not just sitting at your desk eight hours every day?