As the majority of the working population spend at least 5 plus hours per day in front of a computer, on phones, using tablets and at a desk, there are many common strains and postural complaints that may arise.
These can include conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, SIJ inflammation, hip tightness, muscle cramping and spasm in the shoulders, as well as overall body stiffness. Poor posture can include being slumped and rolled in the shoulders which lead to tight neck and shoulder muscles, curved upper back and sway lower back, tight muscles at the front of the hips and feeling tired, both muscularly and physically, from compressing the diaphragm by slumping forward all day.
As humans, we weren’t designed to be sedentary. We all feel better if we are active and move! Unfortunately however, a lot of the population has become sedentary due to the demands of the work force.
By encouraging body movements throughout the day this will help increase energy levels, as well as improve conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, muscle tightness and joint stiffness. It will also help in giving a greater work performance by feeling more alert and refreshed, decreasing stress and even improving mood.
Our Tips to help prevent workplace muscle strains and improve posture include:
- Aim to walk around the office every hour or so,
- Get up and getting a glass of water,
- Stand up while you are on the phone,
- Go outside for some fresh air and Vitamin D during lunch time,
- Use a lumbar support in your lower back to help improve your seated posture at your desk,
- Take deep breaths and roll your shoulders backwards every hour or so,
- Organise an ergonomic assessment from your OH&S department for optimal ergonomic set up with your chair, computer and accessories! Ask for any extra tools such as a head-piece for the telephone, a document holder, and a supportive office chair. Make sure your computer, mouse, desk and chair all fit just for you!
- Stay hydrated to help with energy levels, muscle cramping and overall wellbeing.
- Stretches that may be beneficial for desk based jobs include for the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors, neck and shoulder muscles, as well as shoulder shrugs and rolls.
- If required use heat packs or ice packs for pain and inflammation.
The hardest part of doing any of the above is just finding a routine and starting to do it! Once you have begun trying to improve your posture and workplace station, your overall work place experience will be much improved.