You’re probably part of the large group of people whose jobs require to be seated at a desk for long periods. The time you spend sedentary puts you at a high risk of chronic pain, musculoskeletal injuries, and disorders, and affects your productivity and lifestyle.
Sitting stresses your spine and vertebral discs, and the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. The first signs that your job is affecting your health include the neck, shoulder, and back pain. Sitting for prolonged periods combined with bad posture habits can trigger mobility issues that can affect your overall health.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that 30% of all workers’ compensation costs go to patients who have musculoskeletal disorders. Workers are daily experiencing pains as a symptom for strained or aggravated blood vessels, discs, nerves, ligaments, tendons, or muscles. The Center for Disease Control states that organizations spend over 50 billion dollars on costs of musculoskeletal disorders. But OSHA estimates the indirect costs associated with these conditions can be even five times higher than the official numbers.
So, how can you improve work ergonomics to lower these costs and prevent workplace injury?
Teach Your Body to Sit in a Neutral Posture
If this is the first time you read about neutral posture, it’s worth explaining what it implies. When you sit in a neutral stance, your body maintains the spine in its natural position, meaning your posture is straight from head to toe. Sitting for long periods compromises the spine’s natural alignment and causes injuries, spinal compression, muscle tension, or nerve pinching.
Even if the neutral position requires a straight posture from head to toe, you can achieve it even when you sit at your desk. The following guidelines will teach you how to improve your posture:
– Do not cross your legs or ankles and rest the feet flat on the floor
– Your back should stay flat against the back of the chair with your shoulders pulled back
– Use monitor support to maintain the desktop at eye level
– Add a lumbar support tool to your chair to prevent slouching and keep your spine straight
Proper workplace ergonomics is constructed around your body posture and through the products you use to aid your back to maintain a correct position. By keeping your body in a neutral posture when working, you lower the chance of injury and chronic pain.
Don’t Ignore Neck and Back Pain
To prevent a chronic issue, pay attention to your daily wellbeing. Monitor your health state and pay attention to symptoms like soreness, stiffness, or aching in your neck, shoulders, and back. Take note of regular symptoms to determine if they follow a specific pattern and if your routine or habits trigger them. Keeping an eye on your symptoms and when they arise can help you identify the causes and prevent them.
Tracking will show you that pain is worse when you perform specific activities, and your body feels different during work time than during weekends. Adjusting your posture and habits at work, and being conscious about your pains help you improve your well being.
Movements Breaks are Welcome While Working at a Desk
Desk work often causes back and chronic pain disorder because it keeps you tied to your chair for over 8 hours a day. Your body needs plenty of movement to stay healthy.
Taking a movement break every 30 minutes, lowers the chances of suffering from health conditions related to bad body posture. People suffering from low back pain reported an improvement in their symptoms when they took regular sitting breaks.
Your sedentary life comes with many health risks, and to reduce them, take scheduled breaks and exercise regularly. Stretch overhead, open your chest and back, and move a little to counteract slouching. A couple of steps around the office can boost your energy and circulation.
Create an Ergonomic Workstation
To improve your body’s wellness, you must set up an ergonomic workstation. The above tips help you maintain your body in a good state, but also, the items you use for completing your daily tasks influence your health. You may find it more comfortable to sit when working, but some people say sitting is the new smoking because you feel great when you do it. However, it damages your health in the long term.
Standing work stations benefit your health in many ways. Because you work at a desk, you are prone to lower back pain. Standing for even an hour relieves the stress you put on your spine and improves your aches. Also, if at the start, you may find it challenging to replace your traditional chair with a standing one, in time, you’ll find it more comfortable for your body to work from a standing position. Check this Standing Chair Review to find out how it can revolutionize your life. It supports your back and assists you in your productivity and alertness.
Set Reminders to Get Up from Your Chair
When passionate about your job, you can easily get caught in your work and forget to leave the office for hours. Even if you have the best intentions to be more active, it can be challenging to remember to take movement breaks. It takes time to change your habits and become better at workplace ergonomics. Repetition helps you build a healthy habit. An app can help you cultivate a healthy regimen. Set reminders to notify you when the time for a walk comes. When the timer goes off, get up from your desk and take a 5-minute break. Refill your glass of water, check the plants, visit a colleague, or take a walk outside the office. Soaking in the sun for a couple of minutes helps you rebuild your energy levels and improves your health.
Years of poor posture and bad habits make it hard to adopt a healthy lifestyle. But for your well being, it’s essential to practice a neutral position and use ergonomic products to support your body. And don’t forget to take these positive habits from office to home, and even during your vacations if you want to maintain long-term effects.