It's just another day at the office. You sit at a desk. You answer the phone. You work for hours on your computer. You call it a day and drive home.
Sometimes, however, this kind of work can be a real pain.
That's because many people with office jobs deal with back and neck pain, as well as headaches. Although often viewed as "having it easy," this type of grind can be just as taxing on the body as working in construction or a factory. Physical labor can produce repetitive stress disorders and injuries, but office work often leads to what I call static and/or sedentary stress disorders or ailments, which can be just as debilitating.
Bad Habits, Poor Posture: Culprits of Static Stress in Office Jobs
Most of the time, the culprits of sedentary stress are bad habits, poor posture and a work environment that fosters bad habits and poor posture.
Good posture depends on awareness and endurance, not just strength of the back, shoulder and neck muscle groups. One way to aid your posture while sitting and avoid undue stress is by adjusting your environment to fit your job – commonly referred to as “ergonomics." This idea is great in theory but not always practical, I know. However, even simple changes can make a big difference.
Combatting Three Major Causes of Sedentary Stress
There are three major perpetrators of sedentary stress in an office: the chair, the screen and the phone. Compare your work environment today to these eight best practices for good habits and posture on the job:
- A good chair provides full back and lumbar support and has arms that adjust and swing inward to support your arms while typing.
- Adjustable chair height is a must and your feet should be on the floor or supported.
- Use the chair, do not sit on the edge.
- Adjust the computer screen so it is directly in front of you, 18 to 24 inches away from face.
- The middle of your screen should be just below eye level, so you are looking down on screen slightly with your eyes.
- When looking at the screen, do not tilt you chin upward. Keep it level. For those of you who wear bifocals, this is very important.
- If you answer the phone a lot , consider a headset over a regular handset.
- While talking on the phone, lean back slightly in your chair. This is a less stressful position.
Need help with ergonomics in your workplace? Do you think your back and neck pain or headaches may be the result of sedentary stress at the office? Contact Mercy Health & Fitness Center in North Canton, Ohio, for an evaluation.