By Steve Barker
One thing is for sure, the human body was not designed to sit behind a desk all day, staring at a screen. As a result of making our body do something it wasn’t meant for, we get sore shoulders, achy necks, strained forearms, and the list goes on. According to an article published by the Washington Post, people who watched 7 plus hours of TV in an 8 year period had a 61 percent higher risk of dying. But since so many jobs revolve around sitting at one’s desk. If we are still working toward that goal of having enough money for early retirement, what’s a desk worker to do?
Fortunately, there are products on the market and things we can do to prevent or minimize common desk-related aches and pains.
1. Your wrist and forearms hurt.
Your fingers weren’t made to hit little square bits of plastic over and over. In fact, doing so puts you at risk of repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. But there is a way to combat this pain.
Ergonomic keyboards were created to cause the least amount of stress and tension on your arms and wrists. Generally, ergonomic keyboards feature a gentle slope so that your arms are resting at an angle, versus flat on your desk. The keyboard also features keys that are aligned to your hands’ natural position on the keyboard. Ergonomic keyboards can range from moderately priced models to products upwards of $200.
2. The base of your neck and your shoulders are tense.
Right now, as you read this article, evaluate how you are sitting. What angle is your head at? Is it looking straight ahead to read? Or is your head tilted downward at a slight angle? When your head tilts forward, this places undue stress on the base of the neck and shoulders, causing the muscles here to contract and tighten. If these muscles are not massaged and loosened, then you become susceptible to further pain complications. The solution? Massage where it hurts or feels stiff. And no, you don’t need to book an appointment at the massage parlor. Use your fingers, or even better, buy a handheld massager that you can pull out whenever your shoulders need a rub. You should feel an almost immediate relief from pain.
3. Your lower back hurts.
According to WebMD, it happens to everyone. The lumbar region, that part of your back below your rib cage, is where you feel the pain. It can be caused by lifting something too heavy, but also from sitting too long on a chair that causes you to lean forward, or slouch. Lumbar support cushions can help to minimize your lower back pain. These come in cushions you sit on, or cushions that you put at the small of your back. Do a Google search for lumbar support and you’ll find a line up targeted to preventing lower back ailments.
4. You feel stiff and creaky.
Being in one position for too long can cause problems. Even if you have correct posture, and you are getting good support for your back, shoulders, and wrists. Maybe you get up and stretch at the top of every hour, yet you still feel creaky? One factor that could be contributing to your stiffness is the need to hydrate and stay hydrated. Your body consists of 50 to 60 percent water. This water is used up throughout the day and needs replenishing. If you begin to feel sluggish and creaky, it could be that you need to chug a glass of water.
You do not need to endure pain at your desk. With just a little research, modification, and adjustment, you could be improving the quality of your work life. Not only that, you could be preventing some other serious ailments down the line. Take control of your pain by doing something about it now.