Many people work in offices doing relatively sedentary jobs, spending most of their time behind a desk or in front of a computer. While you might think more active jobs are likely to result in injuries, spending multiple hours in a seated position can easily lead to neck and back pain, especially over the course of months and years.
However, just because neck and back pain are common of office workers doesn’t mean it has to be. Some simple changes around your workspace can make all the difference when it comes to neck and back pain.
• Get an adjustable height chair. Fixed height chairs simply are not appropriate for working environments because they’re going to force you to alter your body to your chair and desk, not the other way around.
• Make sure you sit all the way back in your chair. You should feel your lower back touching the chair at all times when seated. If you have existing lower back problems, adding a lower back cushion can make sitting for prolonged periods of time much more comfortable.
• Bring your shoulders back to a straight position when you’re sitting and working at your desk. Think about proper posture when you’re standing up and try and replicate that position. Slumping can cause neck and back pain, even in the short-term, especially when you’re leaning in to get closer to your work surface.
• Keep your feet flat on the floor when you’re working at a desk. Putting your feet up or crossing your ankles might feel comfortable for a minute, but it can throw your spine out of alignment as you work, leading to potentially severe neck and back pain.
• Take regular breaks when you’re working in a seated position for long periods of time. Even taking a short 60 second walk around your office or getting a drink of water every 30 to 60 minutes can make a big difference when it comes to preventing neck and back pain. Exercising regularly before and after work for about 30 minutes per day can also help significantly reduce pain.