Even with an amazing work setup, there are certain things you should do throughout the day to reduce the risk of pain and discomfort. These useful tips can help reduce the increase load that you put on your spine as a result of prolonged and/or improper posture.
- Avoid prolonged sitting (e.g. more than 1 hour). Evidence has suggested that prolonged sitting can increase the stress you put on your discs (supporting structure between your vertebrae) by upto 2-3x your body weight. Getting up to grab a glass of water or a healthy snack or even grabbing your printing can help reset the curvature in your spine reducing the risk of spinal pain.
- Aim to walk for 30 minutes every day. As most corporate workers sit for at least 6 hours or more, it is vital that walking becomes part of our lives. The 30 minutes could be split up throughout the day, but is most effective after a long day at work.
- Get involved in doing regular exercises. This may sound obvious but it amazes me to hear how many people are not involved in regular exercises. This does not mean going for a 1 hour run every day or even going to the gym every second day. Low impact activity such as swimming, Pilates, or Yoga (which can be done at home also) are great forms of exercise that can help re-energise your physical and mental being. It will help you get stronger both physically and mentally and help you get through your day easier.
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluid. Evidence has suggested lack of fluid could contribute to muscular spasms/cramps, as well as increasing likelihood of muscular injuries in general. Your joints and your spine is supported by several structures and muscles are a huge component of this. Maintaining healthy muscles is vital in keeping your body strong which helps reduce risk of injury and pain.
- Did you know your eyes can be a cause of your neck pain? Give your eyes plenty of break as well. Staring at your computer screen for more than an hour can lead to eye fatigue which temporarily affects your eye sight. This may mean your head moves forward to look at the screen leading to increased stress to your cervical (neck) spine resulting in neck pain and headache.
What Do I Do if I have Discomfort and PAIN even after doing all the above?
Sometimes, having the perfect work set-up and "doing all the right things" may not reduce or prevent injury and pain. This is most likely due to structural injury or biomechanical anomaly to your body. These issues need to be addressed sooner rather than later to reduce the chances of chronic pain and on-going discomfort.