Is pain hindering your productivity? Do you feel pain in your back, neck and shoulders during the workday? This may be due to excess strain and tension from an incorrect desk setup. Holding the body in an unnatural position and sitting for long periods can lead to an array of health problems, but can be corrected if properly addressed.
Poorly assembled or makeshift workspaces are common today with more and more professionals working remotely. This leads to unhealthy body ergonomics and subsequently to pain, chronic health issues and missed work.
Designing a workspace to better fit your body and inspire good posture is key to alleviating the stress your body is experiencing. This is true if working from home or at the office.
One of the first things to address is the computer monitor. As someone strains to see a screen that is improperly positioned, too small or too dim, his or her posture is compromised. Make sure your eyes are level with the top of the screen by raising or lowering the monitor. If you find yourself slouching or leaning toward the screen, a helpful rule is to have your ears in line with your shoulders.
Next, proper posture in your chair. Having an ergonomic place to sit — and not a kitchen or dining room chair — is essential. Ideally, the chair should maintain the natural curves of your spine with armrests to help the shoulders relax downward. It’s also important for your feet to be flat, on the floor or on a stool if your seat is elevated.
Positioning of the keyboard and mouse are also important. If you must reach instead of comfortably using them, it’s recommended to lower the desk or raise your chair. Ensure forearms are parallel to the floor and wrists are relaxed.
There’s a surplus of equipment designed to make deskwork more ergonomic on the market today. Sit-to-stand desks help get your body moving while increasing circulation and relieving stress on the low back. Wrist rests, supportive mouse pads and other supplemental gear are available as well.
If the discomfort goes beyond your setup, there are yoga positions for poor posture and exercises used to help relieve soreness and strengthen muscles. Consulting a physical therapist or chiropractor, or simply setting reminders to get up and move are helpful strategies to alleviate the symptoms.
By addressing the problems promptly and effectively, you can potentially minimize sick days taken due to pain and maximize your productivity.
Searching for further advice? Check out the accompanying resource for help returning to the life you had before spine-related pain.