Nowadays, working in an office environment is ubiquitous. But at the same time, progressively more people suffer from occupational musculoskeletal disorders.
We’ve all experienced aches and pain after sitting at our computers for a long period of time. You know the drill . . . you’re working on a project, you’re focused and making great progress.
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The next thing you know, several hours have passed and you’ve been working in the same position and posture. As you begin to move, you notice that your neck really sore and stiff – you even have a slight headache. There are five primary factors that may have led to your neck pain.
Remember when your mom would tell you to walk with your head up, sit up straight, and shoulders back? Once again, your mother was right. Posture does matter. In fact, we all know it’s better to use good posture while walking and seating.
So why do we still slouch? Research has proven that poor posture offers back and neck pain. Sitting in a poor posture can contribute to other aspects of your health such as eye strain, shoulder pain, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Many people suffer from back pain, with a prevalence of up to 90% within their lifetime. Chronic low back pain (LBP) has an international prevalence and is the most common form of chronic pain. Several psychosocial and physical aspects may be responsible for the development and progression of a chronic condition.
There are five primary factors that may lead to your back and neck pain:
Maintaining proper posture is one of the most important factors for the prevention of neck pain while working at your computer. Many people only have the option to sit at their workstations. Sadly, sitting for several hours can cause significant postural strain in the neck, back, and shoulders.
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Your desk is a significant component of your workstation, but it can contribute to your neck and back pain if it isn’t adjusted properly. If you have a standard sitting desk at the workplace, the height of the work surface should allow you to type naturally on a computer keyboard.
Your computer monitor is another possible cause of your neck and back pain when you work at the computer for long periods. It should be set at or slightly below your eye level to promote a neutral spine position for the neck.
Proper Office Chair
It important to invest in a proper office chair, especially if you are working mostly in a sitting position. Ergonomic chairs offer the most adjustment flexibility and correct postural support.
Stress is often overlooked as a source of neck and back pain while working, however, it can increase the effects of the other factors. When we experience stress, our shoulders begin to elevate or we can say shrug slightly as part of our fight/flight response. This position activates and fatigues the muscles in your neck and upper back leading to the muscle guarding.
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