At Central Health Physiotherapy, we frequently treat people with neck pain, back pain or arm pain. These problems are very common, often caused or worsened by the patient’s work set-up. An estimated 572,000 people in the UK suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder, which result in the loss of 9.3 million working days in 2009/10 alone (Health & Safety Executive).
In Western countries, around 75% of the work we do involves sitting, often at a computer. Combine this with sitting while travelling to and from work, and then spending the evening watching television or surfing the internet, and you have pressure on the spine for most of your everyday life!
If we’re honest, most of us slouch a lot of the time! And the problem with this for long periods without movement is that it can reduce local tissue circulation and force fluid out of our tissues, resulting in them becoming more acidic, which can cause pain. Prolonged sitting can also cause muscle fatigue and/or muscle over-activity (over-compensation) and tightness, resulting in pressure on the muscles, nerves, joints and spinal discs.
However, provided you take the right steps you can minimise the risk of problems occurring, by improving your desk ergonomics and keeping active.
Below are 6 ‘Top Tips’ for sitting comfortably!
- Adjust your chair so that your lower back is well supported, arms relaxed by your side, with forearms and wrists horizontal. Sit close to the desk with your bottom at the back of the chair and feet in contact with the floor or on a footrest.
- Make sure your keyboard and mouse are not too far away from you. Your keyboard should be in front of you, as if you were playing the piano and the mouse should be close by your side.
- Check the screen distance and height by reaching arms in front of you, your finger tips should touch the screen and the top of the screen should be level with your eyes.
- Avoid uneven positions, such as sitting with your legs crossed or sitting with your back or neck twisted at an angle.
- Avoid using a laptop, as this will promote a poor posture.
- Most importantly of all… MOVE! Take regular breaks, change position, stand up from time to time and perform desk exercises (such as rotating your head from side to side, rolling your shoulders and stretching your arms) every 30 minutes to boost local tissue circulation. It is also really important that you keep active outside of work by taking regular exercise to improve tissue health.
If you continue to experience problems, why not get in touch with us here at Central Health Physiotherapy to arrange an assessment. We can also provide ergonomic work station assessments online. Also seehttp://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/ for further guidance.