How to Ease Back, Shoulder, and Neck Pain At the Office
Contrary to popular belief, manual workers are not the only ones at risk for chronic pain due to their job. In fact, it’s been found that 65% of desk workers develop some sort of regular pain in their body because of their job. But why is this? And how can you avoid or relieve it? Keep reading to learn more!
Why can working at a desk cause pain?
Working for 6+ hours a day at a desk can cause chronic aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, back, wrists, and fingers. To put it simply, the human body is not designed to sit down for hours at a time. When you sit at a desk all day to work, your body is typically hunched over with a protruded neck. Most pain from sitting at a desk is due to improper posture and the wrong desk/computer setup. Sitting the wrong way or not having an ergonomic working station can put pressure on your joints and can pull and strain muscles.
Tips to relieve pain at the office
Although getting out of doing your job every week may not be an option, there are a ton of ways to both prevent and relieve neck, shoulder, and back pain while you’re at the office or working at your desk from home!
1. Fix your posture
Adjusting your posture is the number one mistake that you can correct to help aches and pains caused by sitting at a desk all day. Most people sit with their back and shoulders hunched over causing their neck to protrude. This puts a lot of strain on the upper back and can cause serious pain. While it may be hard to be mindful of your posture all day, there are some things you can do to help:
● Adjust your computer to have your eyes be level to the top of the screen. If you’re not using a monitor, invest in a laptop stand so you don’t strain your neck by constantly looking down.
● Sitting at a 90 degree angle can actually be bad for your lower back as it causes a lot of pressure. Try to recline to about a 100 degree angle instead.
● Have your feet always touching the ground or a foot rest while you’re sitting.
● Relax your arms and shoulders while you’re working at your desk. Tensing them up will end up causing them to ache.
● Try to have your entire back touching the back of your chair while sitting. If your lower back does not touch your chair, use a small pillow to support your lower back better.
● If you find yourself squinting and getting closer to the computer screen to read, increase your font size.
If your job will fund it or if you can get one for your home office, consider purchasing an electric standing desk. These desks can move up or down to allow you to work for part of the day while standing.
2. Get the right chair
Finding the right office chair can be tough. If you’re in the market for a new one, make sure you find one that offers an adjustable height and backrests, armrests, a breathable material, and lumbar support. It may be worth it to head into the store in-person to give different office chairs a try before committing to one!
3. Stand up regularly
As we previously mentioned, our bodies were not designed to sit down for prolonged periods of time. This is why it is so important to take short 5-10 minute breaks each hour to get up and walk around. Take a longer walk on your lunch break or right after you finish working, walk around or stand up while taking a phone call, or even stand while eating your lunch to reduce the risk of aches and pains. Even doing simple stretches in the morning and at night can make a world of difference.
Weak core muscles can contribute to back pain because they cannot support the back properly throughout the day. But exercising doesn’t mean you have to engage in high intensity workouts every day. Yoga, walking, pilates, cycling, and more can all strengthen your muscles, help you mitigate the risk of excess weight gain, and reduce stress levels.
5. Eat healthy
Your diet can make or break both your physical and mental health. Inflammatory foods such as refined sugar, processed foods, and simple carbs can cause your pain to be worse. While everything is fine in moderation, make sure you’re eating foods that are super nutritious and known for reducing inflammation such as fish, leafy greens, eggs, nuts, and fruits.
6. Get regular massages
Massages not only help to reduce stress but they also relax sore muscles and decrease the risk for future muscle strains. Getting a massage membership for a monthly or bi-weekly massage is a great excuse to do something nice for yourself while also relieving back, shoulder, and neck pain!
7. Reduce stress
We all know by now that high stress levels can wreak havoc on the body. If you’re feeling stressed from work, try adding activities into your routine that can help relieve it. Consider meditation, yoga, or breathing techniques. Both your mind and your body will thank you!
8. Use topical pain relief
Stock up on topical pain relief products such as patches, liquids, and lotions to keep at your desk. Topical pain relievers are easy to store in the office and are simple to apply when you’re having a flare-up of pain. Patches such as the SINSINPAS AREX Cool & Hot Pain Relieving Patches are a great option for aches, soreness, and pains that can come along with working at a desk all day. The cooling effect helps to reduce any inflammation while the heat loosens up tight muscles to provide instant relief. Plus, the AREX Pain Relieving Patches are easy to apply, flexible enough to finish all of your activities with, and provide long-lasting relief which is ideal for long work days!