If you're like most people, you spend a lot of time at work stuck behind a desk.
However, when you spend hours on end, day after day, sitting in the same spot and mostly sedentary, you're putting yourself at risk of chronic pain, musculoskeletal disorders, and injuries, which can impact your long-term health.
So, when you're at work, you need to be sure to keep proper posture and do as many things as possible to prevent yourself from being completely sedentary.
And, if you don't pay attention, poor posture can quickly become second nature.
Fortunately, if you do pay attention, the main factors affecting posture and ergonomics are completely within your ability to control, and they're not difficult to change.
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In the article below, we'll discuss several ways you can improve your posture and ergonomics at work while you're stuck behind your desk all day.
Table Of Contents
- Practice Neutral Posture
- Notice The Warning Signs
- Be Mindful Of Pain
- Move As Much As Possible
- Set Move Reminders
- Use Posture Friendly Devices
- Focus On Proper Posture At Work
Practice Neutral Posture
Neutral posture is the spine's natural alignment position.
It's a posture that is completely straight from head to toe.
When your spine's natural alignment is compromised from sitting, slouching, hunching, or an injury, it can cause spinal compression, nerve pinching, and muscle tension.
You can achieve a mostly neutral posture at work even if you're stuck behind your desk.
Here are a few tips to guide you to the neutral position:
- Keep your computer monitor at eye level
- Pull your shoulders back and keep your back flat against your chair
- Rest your feet flat on the ground
- Don't cross your ankles or legs
- Use a lumbar support tool to help keep your upper back straight
- Proper ergonomics at work are built around the neutral posture concept and supporting it through
- healthier habits and the right wellness products.
By sitting in a neutral position as much as possible while you're at your desk, you are significantly reducing your chance of injury and developing chronic pain.
Notice The Warning Signs
A good sign that your back pain is the result of poor ergonomics and posture is if your back pain is worse at certain times of the day or week.
If you only have pain while you're at work and not on your days off, that's a sure sign that your back pain is the result of being sedentary at work.
Other signs your pain is due to poor posture are:
- Pain that starts in your neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back, and the extremities
- Pain that goes away when you switch positions
- Sudden back pain that comes with a new job or office chair
- Back pain that comes and goes for months
Be Mindful Of Your Pain
To prevent spinal problems, it's important to be aware of your daily wellbeing.
Keep track of ongoing systems like stiffness, soreness, and aching in your back, shoulders, and neck.
Take notes on a regular basis when symptoms arise. This will help you determine any patterns in your habits and routines that could be contributing to your back pain.
If you take sufficient notes, you should start to notice that your pain is worse on certain days or certain times of the day.
There's also a good chance that your body will feel different during works hours than it does on your days off.
Once you have this information, you can start to adjust your posture and help prevent your back pain.
Move As Much As Possible
As your muscles get tired, slouching, slumping and other poor postures become much more likely, putting extra pressure on your neck and back.
In order to maintain a relaxed, yet supported posture changes positions frequently. Try to maintain the neutral posture we talked about earlier.
An excellent way to do this is to take a break from sitting every 30 minutes for a couple of minutes to stretch, stand, or walk.
When you get into the flow of things at work, it can be difficult to remember to get up and move around, even with the best intentions to do so.
Improving your posture at work and taking movement breaks requires to you break the old habits and build new ones, which takes time.
To make sure you don't forget to get up and move every 30 minutes, you can use a number of reminder and timer tools available to you that will alert you when it's time to take a movement break.
The simplest method is to set a timer that goes off every 30 minutes.
When that timer goes off, set at least another two-minute timer for your movement break. Repeat that until you're packing up your stuff to go home.
Use Posture Friendly devices
Ergonomic devices can help take the strain and load off of your spine.
If possible, get an ergonomic office chair or a chair with an adjustable back support for your desk at work.
Footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a towel, small pillow, or tennis ball can be used while sitting at your office chair.
Carrying your things to and from work in purses, bags, and backpacks that are designed to minimize back strain will also help improve your posture.
Corrective eyewear, positioning your computer screen to your eyes natural position will keep you from leaning or straining your neck with your head tilted forward.
Focus On Proper Posture At Work
There's no question that it is important to practice good posture at work and use ergonomic products to support spine alignment when necessary.
It's also important to take the habits you build while you're at work and apply them to when you're at home, traveling, and anywhere else.
Maintaining proper spine alignment no matter where you are or what you're doing is essential to preventing long-term, life-altering conditions.
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