The design of your workspace and your behavior within it has everything to do with neck and back pain. You don’t have to be resigned to having chronic pain just because you work at a desk. You can avoid neck and back pain by making your workspace spine-friendly.
You know that rearranging the furniture in your home can revitalize the space. Doing the same thing in your work area – whether you have a home office, cubicle, or corner office – can give you the same kind of energy, and minimize discomfort.
Sit Up Straight
The way you sit in your desk chair is one of the easiest changes to make. Adjusting to best practices for sitting properly may take a little time but, once it has become a habit there will be less strain on your back and neck.
Invest in a well-constructed, ergonomic chair. It’s the effort of sitting – and yes, it does take effort – that creates fatigue. The discomfort that develops is not helped by a poorly designed chair. Test out chairs with good lumbar support, a reclining mechanism, swiveling capability, and flexible height.
Being able to turn allows you to switch tasks without stretching your upper body in ways it shouldn’t go. Changing the height of the chair gets you to a comfortable position so your feet can be flat and your hands can be in just the right spot for using your computer.
Sit-to-stand desks or standing desks only are options that many workers and companies are now adopting. Standing encourages you to switch up your posture throughout the day and relieves pressure on your back. Make sure you don’t have to reach for the items you need. Keep them handy so you’re not strained unnecessarily.
Some people say that standing while working provides them with new perspective and improved productivity. You may be encouraged to take more stretch breaks if you’re already standing up. And, you might even burn a few calories.
The position of your desk equipment plays an important role in spinal health. If the computer or keyboard is too low or too high, the mouse is too far away, or the monitor is at an odd angle, these can all place unnecessary strain on your back and neck.
Putting some distance between you and your keyboard and angling it down can improve the posture of your wrists (yes, wrist posture!). Keep your mouse close so your arms are relaxed when using it; closer to your body is better. Adjust your monitor to be at eye level and in front of you. A monitor that is off to the side will not only strain your neck but your eyes as well. If you have a laptop, you may want to consider a separate keyboard so you can keep the laptop at the right height for your eyes and the keyboard at a comfortable spot too.
Here’s to Your Spine
You spend a great deal of your waking hours at work. Making this environment comfortable for you will make you a more productive worker, and one who is not inviting in unnecessary pain. If your neck and back pain is small but persistent, don’t risk further complications. If your pain is chronic and severe, you need relief. Contact the Restorative Wellness Center in Ann Arbor to schedule your consultation with our functional medicine team to spine health.