Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 16, 2020
More than 75 million people in the United States work at a computer for the majority of their work day, and the average office worker spends 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer, so it’s important that we recognize how this technology can affect our spines. There are three main ways that computers can pose a health risk for our back, and in today’s blog, we take a closer look at those three factors and explain how you can keep them from causing spinal discomfort.
How Desk Work Challenges Your Spine
As we mentioned above, there are three main ways that working at a computer for extended hours increases your risk of spine injury. Here’s a look at each of those factors and how to prevent them from causing problems with your back.
- Your Chair – You’re going to be seated in your office chair for the majority of the workday, so you need to ensure you have a comfortable option that supports your lower back. Many people just stick with the chair that is provided to them when they start, and that means you might be given a chair that’s lost some padding or become uneven. If your chair isn’t helping to handle the stress of your body, that pressure will be exerted on your lumbar spine, which can increase your risk of strains, sprains and disc issues. Invest in a quality office chair or sit-to-stand workstation that helps cushion your backside, support your spine and shift your back into a natural alignment, which brings us to our next point.
- Your Posture – Poor posture is likely the biggest reason office workers suffer back pain on a regular basis. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair to take a call or you’re hunched forward looking at a spreadsheet. Either way, if your head isn’t positioned over your shoulders, your cervical and lumbar spine are the areas that are going to feel this excess stress. Get in the habit of performing regular posture checks throughout your work day. Get in the habit of conducting a self-assessment of your posture every half hour until you notice that you’re usually finding your body in a healthy alignment. Certain ergonomic chairs and exercise balls can also help naturally push your spine into a healthy alignment while you sit.
- Extended Seating – One final way that office work can cause problems for our spine is due to the fact that we often remain in the same position for extended periods. If we stay in the same position for a long time, the same muscle groups and structures are going to remain in a stressed state. However, if we get up and move around, even for just a few minutes at regular intervals, we can help take stress off certain areas of our spine and help to get blood flowing throughout our bodies to promote optimal structure function. Take every other call while standing up, walk around the lobby on your lunch break, or just make it a point to stand and stretch for a few minutes every hour to help keep from overstressing your spine.
If you can do these three things, we’re confident that you’ll have a good chance of reducing your risk of developing back problems as a result of your computer use. For more tips, or for help with your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.