How to Keep Your Neck and Back Healthy at Work
When you think about injuries on the job, you probably envision construction jobs, or those involving high-risk activities, such as firefighters or policemen.
However, a desk job can be damaging to your body as well. While not dangerous in the ways other jobs can be, sitting at a computer for 40 hours each week can take its toll on your neck and spine.
Don’t let your 9 – 5 life create pain that affects you 24-7. Use the tips below to keep your body harm-free and healthy no matter where you work:
Swap out your old office chair for an ergonomic chair or a posture-friendly prop. Sitting in an uncomfortable office chair all day can lead to serious back troubles, but a new (or modified) chair can make all the difference in the world. If you can, purchase an ergonomic chair that positions your body correctly as you sit. However, an adjustable lumbar pillow can modify your existing chair to a more comfortable fit with the curve of your spine. Some office dwellers also opt for a footrest that is designed to keep your legs and spine comfortably positioned. Spending on ergonomic products now can save you lots of back distress later.
Keep your computer screen at eye level for a healthier neck. Staring down at a computer screen for eight hours a day can wreak havoc on your neck. Position your screen so that its center is directly in front of your gaze, as you look straight ahead. If you need to, use books to raise it to the correct height. In addition, take breaks from your computer by getting up and moving around every 30 minutes or so.
Use a phone headset to avoid neck strain. If your job requires you to talk on the phone a lot, invest in a hands-free device. Keeping your neck tilted to the side while you’re on the phone can cause a great deal of strain.
Stretch several times per day to keep your back from getting stiff and sore. In addition to stretching when you wake up and before you go to bed, do this throughout the day to keep your back loose. If you sit at an office chair for many hours on end, it is important to stretch from time to time. Try this every 30 to 60 minutes.
Finally, pay attention to the way you sit, regardless of the type of chair. After all, many of us spend considerable time in chairs other than our own – in conference rooms or in clients’ offices, for example. When sitting, avoid slouching, and try to maintain the natural curve in your lower back. Try to keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, and keep your head up and back straight.