How Your Desk Chair Might Be Causing Your Back and Neck Pain
The average office worker spends almost half of each day sitting at a desk. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can not only negatively impact your metabolism, circulation, and increase the risk of disease, but can also put severe stress on the back and neck. Slumping over and slouching can injure spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs. One of the most challenging problems to overcome is the time it takes for damage to appear. Most people are not aware of the problem until they begin to experience neck or back pain. However, this pain can be prevented by following these simple practices:
- Improve Your Posture
Don't slump or slouch in the chair or over the computer. Both of your feet should be flat on the floor. Your back should be straight, cushioned by the back of the chair. Your head should be looking straight ahead without bending or looking sideways. Also, make sure the height of your chair is adjusted, so your knees are in line with your hips.
- Correct Placement of Your Monitor and Keyboard
The center of the monitor should be at nose-level with the entire monitor at an arm's length away directly in front of you. The keyboard should be centered in front of you just below elbow level. Try to refrain from resting your wrists on the desk while typing, as this can strain your tendons and constrict blood flow.
- Stand Up
Even when sitting up straight, sitting for extended periods can still cause stress on the back and neck. When possible, stand up for as long as time allows. Consider investing in a stand-up desk; there are several inexpensive versions available. You can also consider options that include a saddle chair or an exercise ball chair. Try to stand up meetings or use phone call meetings where you can stand while talking.
- Adjust Your Use of Smart Phones and Tablets
The human head weighs an average of 10 pounds, so bending your neck down to look at your cellphone or tablet puts intense pressure on your neck. Try to hold your device higher or set it down for a while to give your neck a break.
- Walk Around
Try to stand every 30 minutes, even if it is just for a minute or so at a time. Take a walk, do a few exercises, and try to remain as active as possible throughout your workday. Doing so will alleviate the pressure on your back and neck.
If your back or neck issues go from occasional stiffness into a chronic pain problem, the experts at MCO are here to help. At McLean County Orthopedics, we are experts in orthopedic care and specialize in the treatment of back and neck injuries. If pain or stiffness has developed in the back or neck, it could be from sitting in a prolonged static position. Please give us a call at (309) 663-6461 and/or schedule an appointment! We would love to help relieve your pain.