Preventing Neck and Back Pain at Your Desk

When you’re tied to your desk for long hours, whether it’s because of your job or engaging in a hobby, you can feel as roughed up as you would after eight hours of breaking rocks. Neck and back pain are a significant drain on the economy. If you’ve ever missed work because of spinal pain, you’ll know that effect personally. Worldwide, neck and back pain combine to form the leading cause of disability.

Made for motion

Part of the problem is the amount of time you spend in the sitting position. Your body is made to move and planting yourself in a chair for long hours just isn’t natural. The same holds true for a worker who stands for long hours. There’s nothing wrong with sitting or standing, unless it’s the only posture you maintain.

Down to design

Your desk, chair, and equipment may be bending you to their will. Poor ergonomics force you into positions that place undue strain on the bones and soft tissue of your spine along its complete length, instead of balancing the load with other core muscles.

The pain-free path

Getting past the aches and pains that a desk job can cause your back and neck is usually possible by addressing movement and ergonomics. Here are some ways you can address your workspace and how you use it.

Monitor height

Sitting up straight with eyes forward, look at your monitor. The top of the monitor should be about the middle of your field of vision. Tipping your head forward to view the screen forces your neck to bear a greater load to maintain head position. When you can view the screen well while your spine stays centered beneath your skull, you share the load your head bears throughout your body.

Chair settings

When you’re thinking about it, it’s natural to assume a neutral position with good posture. Your feet are flat on the floor, your back is straight, and your head is centered. Typically, it feels good. Yet the minute you start to focus on a task, you may slouch, lean forward, and basically abandon your balance. Set your chair so that it’s easy to reset yourself in proper posture. This may take a combination of height, tilt, back support, or even a platform for your feet.

Avoid reaching

Your forearms should be parallel to the floor or angling slightly down to use a keyboard and mouse. These should also be centered so that you remain in a facing-forward alignment. Reaching for your mouse will be a simple forearm movement that doesn’t require you to twist to support it. Keeping other routinely used items within similar reach reduces strain.

Limit flat device use

Tools such as smartphones and tablets have a unique challenge since viewing and data entry occur on the same plane. Most people bend their heads forward to compensate, and the longer you maintain this position, the more potential you have for developing neck and back pain.

Keep moving

Take frequent breaks, get up from your chair, and move around. While the pressure of deadlines may make you think you’re unable to interrupt your productivity, developing neck or back conditions can shatter it completely.

Despite your best efforts, neck and back pain can still strike. The good news is that most cases are simple, and they’ll heal naturally. Coping with the pain, however, may take more effort. A visit to Dr. Ajit Pai and our team at Pain Management Group LLC can help you function through the injury as well as ensuring you’re not experiencing a more serious spine issue. Arrange your consultation and examination and call us today. 

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