Working in an office where you sit at a desk for eight hours a day might not sound like a dangerous lifestyle. However, it can actually be quite hazardous to your musculoskeletal health. Whether it’s from repetitive movements, poor posture, or simply not moving enough, there are a number of different injuries that can happen in the workplace. Here are a few of the most common work injuries and how you can help to prevent them.
back pain at workMost likely, everyone has experienced a crick in their back from sitting for too long. Usually, standing up and stretching can relieve the pain. However, when you work in an office setting and sit stationary for eight hours a day, five days a week, this can do untold damage to your back and spine. Ideally, the body should only stay in one position for up to 20 minutes at a time. Holding the prolonged static posture of sitting for eight hours can lead to a decrease in the elasticity of soft tissues in the back. This means that your muscles, tendons, and ligaments will begin to weaken, putting more stress on your spine and creating intense back pain. To avoid this: Simply get up and stretch a bit about every half hour. Set a reminder on your computer so you don’t forget. Additionally, make sure you are using good posture and have an office chair that offers adequate support for your back. When sitting in your chair, your feet should be flat on the floor and your thighs should be parallel with the floor. Arms rests are also useful, but only if you can use them without drooping your shoulders or hunching them up.
Sprains and Strains
strain painAnother problem many people experience are sprains or strains in the structures of the back, legs, and arms. This often occurs because people lift items incorrectly or stretch too far to reach objects, putting too much pressure on sensitive areas of the body. Typically, these strains occur in the low back, upper back, neck, or shoulders. However, they could happen anywhere in the body depending on how much you move. To avoid this: Always be sure to use proper lifting techniques. Use your legs instead of pulling the weight with your back. Additionally, keep items you use on a frequent basis within reach so you don’t have to risk straining your body. A simple solution to eliminate discomfort in the legs is to add a footrest. If you do need to lift something heavy or reach something, always be sure to loosen up your muscles by stretching first.
Hand and Wrist Pain
wrist painOne of the biggest problems office workers face is hand and wrist injuries. Constantly typing or writing puts a lot of strain on the structures of the wrist and hand. This is especially true if your mouse is too far away from the keyboard In many cases, people end up developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, even the cold temperature of the office can play a role in a wrist or hand injury. To avoid this: Try to break up work that involves a lot of repetition. If you have to type all day typing a document, be sure to take lots of rest to give your wrists and hands a chance to recover. Always hold your hands in a comfortable position that doesn’t stretch their range of motion. Also, make sure your work space is ergonomically sound and supportive. This could mean getting a curved or contoured keyboard or using a wrist pad to support the arms when typing.
Head and Neck Pain
Head and neck pain is another extremely common issue in offices. There can be a number of reasons for this type of pain to develop. Often, people have their computer screen at the wrong height, causing them to hunch over or look up too much. They might even be too close to the screen, causing strain on their eyes. If the light in the office is too dim or too bright, it can also irritate the eyes, causing headaches, double vision, or an inability to see clearly. To avoid this: Adjust your work space so that your neck and spine are in a neutral position. This could mean lowering or raising your computer screen so that you can look at it without hurting your neck. Also, make sure it is far enough away from your face to prevent eye strain. You might even want to look into a standing desk, as this allows you to have more freedom with movement to eliminate straining. If you find yourself in pain after an office mishap, don’t be afraid to contact Dallas Interventional Pain. Our pain doctors are experts at identifying and treating the source of pain. With our help, you can quickly get back on your feet and back into the office in no time at all.