Feng Shui is a concept by which the way you arrange your surroundings can result in positive or negative energy. We spend at least one-third of day at work. So while your workspace’s energy may feel right – perhaps you have a tiny zen garden on your desk or you are facing a window – that doesn’t mean that you are being afforded the ergonomic support you need to avoid the physical pain that can come with working in an office all day.
According to a recent government statistic, approximately one-third of worker’s compensation claims are attributed to work-related musculoskeletal disorders such as Carpal Tunnel syndrome, back pain and tendonitis. Besides the stress of seemingly never-ending meetings, missed deadlines and corporate downsizing, there are physical ramifications of working in an office that can cause harm to your body. Here are some ways your office may be causing your body pain.
Take a minute to access your ergonomic situation. Is your computer at the right height for you? Is your chair providing proper support for your back? Where is your mouse located? Is your keyboard stressing your wrists? For starters, good posture is vital to your orthopedic health. Ensuring your workspace is ergonomically correct and fitted to you is a good first step to preventing musculoskeletal concerns. Savvy employers realize the value of ensuring their workers do not suffer undue injury on the job, and have made it a priority to provide back-friendly chairs, adaptive computer and writing devices, and proper lighting. Check with your human resources representative or occupational health office to see if they can do an ergonomic assessment of your workspace. Sometimes, a simple fix like providing you an ergonomic keyboard can save you a lot of pain, and your company from losing a valued resource to injury or workman’s compensation.
Climbing the ladder to success is important, but so is climbing the stairs to get in your steps. After all, sitting is considered by many medical practitioners today to be a “slow, silent, and sedentary killer,” exacerbating and introducing a host of problems. In fact, studies show that prolonged sitting can cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and several musculoskeletal disorders. Rather than congregating in someone’s office or a conference room for your morning stand-up meeting– consider a walking meeting where everyone moves about while the important topics are mulled over. If you’re unable to leave your post, be sure to stretch frequently. Need to share information with a coworker? Mosey on over to them rather than succumbing to the ease of e-mail. Plus, many companies now are opting for standing or adjustable desks to keep your blood flowing.
Avoiding Tech Neck
If you frequently dial-in to meetings, invest in a hands-free headset to prevent that craning of the neck. For many people, looking downward at their monitor or smart phone can cause a craning of the neck and myriad back problems. People who spend 11 or more hours a day at their desk have an exponentially greater chance of dying within three years than those who spent four or less hours in their chairs.
Proper Sitting Technique
Believe or not, there is a proper way to sit when in an office. Try to incorporate these techniques into your musculoskeletal memory
- Ensure both feet are touching the ground, and knees are level with the hips when you’re sitting in your desk chair.
- If your chair has armrests, position your wrists in line with your keyboard to ward off strains such as Carpal Tunnel.
- Position your desk, chair, and monitor so that the monitor is at eye-level.
- Consider purchasing or ask your employer to provide a footstool or monitor riser – two ergonomic must-haves for business-minded individuals.
If you’re experiencing pain during the workday or you’ve suffered from a work-related injury, speak to your employer or human resources director. They may be able to assist you with making your space more comfortable. Not only will it ease the pain, it could increase your productivity. Additionally, seek the advice of a trustworthy and knowledgeable occupational medicine specialist who can offer supplemental workplace solutions to promote wellness while “on the job.”
The team at STAR Spine & Health is well-versed in occupational medicine, and provide comprehensive treatments to get you back to both work and play, sooner. Taking the confusion out of workers’ compensation, they’ll stay in constant contact with your insurance company to ensure you receive maximum medical improvement during your allotted treatments. For more information, or to schedule your appointment, call 303-238-4277.