With all the advancements in technology we are relying on the internet for almost everything. We literally live and breathe looking at our smartphones or tablets to answer all of our pressing questions and to catch up with old friends. Not to mention the time you spend at work sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen. According to a survey released by the American Osteopathic Association, 2 out of 3 office workers have felt some sort of physical back or neck pain in the past 6 months. While nearly 1 in 4 state it is just a standard part of having an office job. As a chiropractor here in Kailua, I know that ignoring or undertreating such conditions can lead to a debilitating cycle resulting in chronic pain, tightness or even degenerative processes which can be easily avoided simply by proper desk and body mechanics.
Ready to give your workspace a makeover?
These easy makeovers will help you and your joints stay healthy and comfortable while at work.
Monitor- A good position for the screen is to be high enough so that in a neutral position you are looking at the middle to the bottom of the screen. This helps to keep the head positioned under the body better as well as not allow you to tilt your head and start looking down.
Distance- Keep the screen at about an arm’s length away.
Back rest- Get a chair with a good back support, or simply add a back support onto the chair. Why is this helpful? Our low back or lumbar spine has a natural curvature curving inward. This means that the backs of our chairs should not be vertical allowing us to slouch. A good back support will keep the lumbar spine in its neutral position in its natural curvature allowing the muscles to relax and not become too tight. Keeping your back pressed up to the support will also force you to have better posture.
Arms & legs- You want to have your legs and elbows positioned at 90 degree angles. That may mean adding a stool under your feet so that the chair can be positioned higher so that your feet are flat on the ground and your elbows to be in a good position allowing the wrists to be neutral on the keyboard.
Head position- Be careful about head position. Many people have what we call anterior head carriage or forward projection of the head and neck which can cause a lot of pain and tightness. If this process continues it can lead to a degenerative processes in the spine. So, try to keep your head balanced over your body with your shoulders back.
Chair- A good quality chair with enough support and padding will be worth every penny. Also, something that may not seem necessary but is very helpful is having a chair with the ability to swivel and roll. A chair with wheels will limit the amount of reaching for items on your desk and in surrounding cabinets that can put extra strain on your body. Another type of chair that has a lot of health benefits is a balance ball chair. These balls can help improve your posture and alignment by engaging your core.
TAKE A BREAK! Take a break every 30-45 minutes!
Following these steps can help decrease your chance of pain being caused by your desk job. If you are already suffering from lower back or shoulder pain, call OSR today to set up your complimentary consultation at 488-5555!