We’ve been through some pretty seismic changes over the last year and a bit. One of the biggest shifts was the number of people working from home. This number grew to about 32% of the working population, meaning a solid 4.3 million Australians were setting up a home office and powering on despite the circumstances.
Whether that’s you or not, the fact is that 50% of all working Australians say that their job involves sitting for at least some time during their day. This sedentary lifestyle has some pretty extraordinary health repercussions – from mild back pain to wrist strain to potential eye problems.
Your professional life could also be the very thing slowly but surely inflicting pain. So how does one balance the need to stay afloat professionally, while also taking care of your well-being?
Here are some hot tips.
Find The Source Of Pain
Depending on what jobs you do for work, whether that’s a 9-5 desk job or a repetitive assembly line or lifting job, the source of pain will often be different, and the solutions used to fix the problem will differ too. Below are some common pain sources and solutions and, as always, it’s a good idea to get in contact with the team here at Integrity Physio if you’re experiencing pain or worsening symptoms.
Pain Source #1: Lower Back Pain
4 million Australians suffer from back pain, making up roughly 16% of the population. Even more serious is the fact that 70% to 90% will suffer back pain at some point in their lives.
Causes And Symptoms
This can be the result of long hours hunched over the computer screen, or simply doing a job with repetitive lifting and bending down. Pain can range from a slight twinge or a dull aching, to trouble moving or performing basic tasks.
In all cases, catching symptoms early is always best. Here are some tips on how to turn things around:
Take breaks! There’s nothing “productive” about powering through and feeling exhausted and sore at the end. Give your body time to relax.
Stretch it out. Before, during or after breaks, try to complete a simple stretching routine to get your body moving and blood flowing.
Adjust your work environment. Many problems arise due to badly set up working spaces, like a working table being set at the wrong height. Make sure your working screen is at eye level to encourage good posture, and try to wrangle an ergonomic chair to improve your seating.
Increase lumbar support with a pillow – this can help stop you from sinking into bad positions that will compromise your posture. Remember to keep your back straight and your feet on the floor.
Pain Source #2: Neck And Shoulder Pain
Of all occupations, computer and office-based work have the highest incidence of neck and shoulder pain. Half of the workers in this category are likely to experience shoulder or neck pain once a year.
If that’s you, you’ve got some adjustments to make to your work routine. Neck and shoulder pain can result in some serious and dangerous side effects.
Causes And Symptoms
One of the major causes of neck and shoulder pain is poor posture and hunching over or letting your shoulders sink down in front of you as you type away madly on your computer. Any repetitive movement that causes the neck to rotate to one side can also place pressure on joints and the soft tissues within the neck. Holding awkward positions for long periods can also negatively affect your posture and put unwanted pressure on joints and tissue.
Taking the time to adjust your posture and seating position, as well as altering working conditions is a great start. You can also:
Set reminders to adjust posture, or take a well-earned break
Reduce stress by working on better time management
Get a headset – if you’re constantly taking phone calls – make sure you don’t need to lean over every time. Use Bluetooth or a headset instead.
Talk to a qualified physio to get targeted stretches specifically for working in an office environment.
Pain Source #3: Wrist Strain
This is often overlooked in the face of bigger culprits like back pain, but wrist strain is highly debilitating when not addressed properly.
Causes And Symptoms
Using a computer mouse, long hours spent typing, and other aggravating conditions like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome can severely affect the wrist while at work. Desk jobs can also be hard on the wrists because they’re often the joint that gets the most stress from long hours of texting, typing, clicking, and punching in numbers.
You may experience:
- Aches and pain
- Tiredness, numbness, or a tingling sensation
- Pins and needles
Getting to the bottom of your wrist pain is essential if you want to get rid of the pain and also improve your performance on the job. You can also:
- Adjust and fix poor posture
- Switch and change your desk and working tools
- Consider including wrist exercises and taking short breaks in between long stints of typing or scrolling
- Make sure your diet is on your side. Include plenty of vitamins and minerals to straighten and promote bone strength (calcium, iron, vitamin C)
Pain Source #4: Undefined
The fact is, pain is always real to whoever is experiencing it. And while there are many physical and postural causes of pain from sitting at your desk all day – such as bad seating, repetitive movements, and staring into a screen for 6+ hours a day, medical experts are also highlighting the severe effects of emotional and stress-related injury to the body.
Causes And Symptoms
Chronic or undefined pain can be the result of a psychologically challenging experience, encounter, or stress. It’s important to remember that pain is experienced differently from person to person. There could also be a combination of physical and emotional factors that are causing you to experience pain in different ways at different times.
It’s important to communicate this to a medical professional. The team at Integrity Physio is highly experienced in dealing with pain through simple exercises and stretches for office workers to get you back on track.
Pain From Sitting At A Desk All Day? Get A Physio On Board
Treating and overcoming pain from sitting at the desk all day is key to improving your performance and overall health and well-being, whether that’s at home or in the office. If you’re experiencing pain from long-ingrained work habits, visit a qualified physiotherapist today to get to the root of the problem. Contact the friendly team at Integrity Physio. We look forward to hearing from you.