Be Aware of Your Desk Job Discomforts
Do you often leave the office with a throbbing head or neck? Do your muscles feel fatigued for their relative lack of movement?
You may think manual labor, sports, and other more motion-based activities bring greater risk of injury. But sitting at a desk also has physical dangers.
Your alignment while sitting at a desk affects your muscles, joints, and organs for better or worse. Poor posture choices brings discomfort now and potential health problems later. Be aware of the risks and evaluate your posture.
Cut Bad Habits
Consider these habits and see if you catch yourself:
- Hunching forward
- Leaning on one hip
- Clenching teeth
- Tilting head for a long time
- Leaning to reach computer mouse
Many of these habits occur without thought due to stress, boredom, or intense focusing. But these and other positions and movements can cause lasting problems and pain down the road.
Know the Risks
While slouching or leaning to one side may not seem dangerous, these posture choices can affect your health and wellbeing.
Take a look at some of the conditions your desk job habits can aggravate.
Neck and Shoulder Muscle Strain
Slouching and hunching places the body at angles that cause the muscles to work hard to keep that position. When your neck and shoulder muscles have to strain to hold up your head, you may feel pain, tension, and knots in these areas.
Also, when these muscles feel strained or tense, pressure can build until it causes tension headaches. If you have trouble holding up your head, or frequently feel like leaning it against your shoulder, you may have strained neck muscles.
Back Muscle Strain
When your body slouches into a chair, your pelvis tilts and causes a lot of extra pressure on your lower back. Lower back pain can affect walking, bending, lifting, and many other movements.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (RSI)
If you’ve heard of terms like “Blackberry thumb” or “tennis elbow” you’ve heard of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). Typing pulls and twists at your wrists. When strained, carpal tunnel syndrome can bring fatigue, numbness, and shooting pains in the arm.
If you sit for long periods of time your knees may feel stiff and sore when you’re on your feet. And if your office furniture does not promote good posture, your knees may protest all the more.
If you exhibit poor posture at work, you may find your arthritis acting up more, resulting in increased stiffness and pain in your joints.
Extra pain in your joints may indicate inflammation. When strained, sacs of fluid near your joints can flare with pain. Common locations include your shoulder, hip, elbow, and knee. This condition is sometimes recurrent, so rest and proper care is important to promote healing.
Heart and Lung Issues
When your spine twists or bends, it affects the position of your ribcage, which in turn puts pressure on the heart and lungs. Over time, this can lead to restricted blood flow, and it may raise your blood pressure.
If you clench your jaw when stressed or focus, increased tension in the jaw can cause pain and strain. An out-of-place jaw can pinch nerves connecting to other areas such as the ear, neck, and back. TMJ may also be the culprit for pounding headaches at the end of the day.
Extra Care Now, Less Pain Later
Whether minor or severe, the discomforts from desk jobs can affect your productivity at work and at home. Next time you’re in the office—or even at home—evaluate how you sit. A few simple adjustments could save you from pain and problems in the future. If you have difficulty maintaining good posture, ask your local chiropractor for advice and help.