Preventative health care is an ongoing trend in Western medicine. Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen movements in public policy from nations around the world, as governments look at ways to slow the creeping effects of sedentary lifestyles and diets rich in prepared and fast food.
If it were up to you, wouldn’t you prefer not to be in pain? Well, a lot of it is up to you. Making movement a regular part of your lifestyle maintains joint mobility, muscle strength and soft tissue that’s ready for action when you are.
To that end, let’s review some pain prevention tips in the office and on the job.
Ergonomics In the Office
I’ve talked to you on numerous occasions about the deleterious effects of sitting for long periods of time without a break. But it’s not just the fact you’re sitting – it’s the way you sit which can lead to problems with pain.
That’s where ergonomics come into play. Ergonomics is the science of arranging work spaces to accommodate better physical function and that includes less stress on the structures of the spine. Your chair, for one, should include lumbar support and be adjustable so you can position yourself at the right height. So, what’s the right height?
Having your chair positioned to accommodate your feet being flat on the floor, your arms at right angles (forearms parallel with the floor) and your line of sight aimed directly at the center of your computer screen is correct.
And while you’re sitting, check your posture regularly. Your head should be in a neutral position, with shoulders relaxed. Ensure your chin isn’t poking forward toward the screen. Your buttocks should be flush with the back of the chair and your abdominals engaged. Get up regularly to walk around the office and stretch and whenever you have a chance, walk a little further during your lunch break.
But sitting for extended periods isn’t the only problem in workplaces. Many people stand for long periods at work and that can be problematic too.
For Those Who Stand
People like teachers and cashiers tend to spend a lot of time on their feet and when we stand, many of us shift our weight from foot to foot. This throws the spine out alignment.
When standing, engaging the core to take the pressure off your lower back is the first thing you should think about. Try some core stabilization exercises (planking, bridging) to mitigate the pressure on your spine by strengthening this key muscle group.
As with sitting, you should be taking a little time throughout the day to stretch your back.
Stretching and movement are crucial for those whose jobs put their spines at risk. With these tips for pain prevention at work and on the job, you can fight back by keeping your body strong and in alignment.
Back & Body Medical
Back & Body is an award-winning pain relief clinic in the heart of Manhattan.
Pain getting you down? Come see us. We’ll straighten you out!