If your job requires you to stay seated behind a desk for long periods, you’re not alone. However, extended sedentary days put people at risk for chronic pain, musculoskeletal diseases, and injuries, all of which have adverse implications on health, efficiency, and productivity. It’s critical to establish healthy workplace practices that improve your posture through ergonomic principles to prevent chronic health conditions that may demand spine surgery and other drastic treatment options. So, what effective methods can you use to improve your posture while at work? Here are some tips on how to improve your posture and relieve pain.
- Practicing neutral position
The neutral posture is the spine’s natural alignment position. This is when the spine is straight from head to toe. When the spine’s natural alignment is disrupted due to bad posture, such as slouching, hunching, or injury, issues like spinal compression, nerve pinching, and muscular strain can occur. While at work, it is vital to keep a neutral posture while you sit at your desk or work on your computer. This can be done by investing in office furniture that prevents you from hunching over. Working in a neutral position would lower your risk of injury and chronic discomfort considerably.
- Pay attention to your body for any discomfort
Your body gives you indicators to show its experiencing discomfort. Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful of this to ensure you resolve the issues and avoid getting hurt any further. When you have been in a bad posture for an extended period, you are likely to experience stiffness, tightness, or soreness in your back, shoulders, and neck.
Keep a daily or weekly log of your symptoms to determine if any patterns emerge in habits or routines you carry out to determine the source. By keeping a log, you would also identify how intense the pain is and what activities to ease the pain. With this knowledge, you can begin to change your work position and consciously avoid back pain. You can also avoid the activities and postures that bring about discomfort.
- Ensure you take movement breaks if you are involved in a sedentary work
Desk work is linked to chronic back pain and discomfort partly because it restricts the amount of mobility essential for improved health. According to researchers, taking movement breaks of 30 minutes regularly can dramatically reduce the health hazards associated with sitting. Other studies have confirmed the importance of movement breaks by finding that desk employees with a higher frequency of low back pain can reduce their symptoms by taking frequent breaks from sitting. During your movement breaks, perform good posture exercises. You can take the time to do a few stretching exercises. You can also walk around the office or climb up and down the stairs.
Therefore, try to take a break from your sedentary work, which leads to the next point.
- Set reminders for your movement breaks
Even with the best of intentions, remembering to take frequent activity breaks can be challenging. You must build a habit, which takes time, to improve your job ergonomics and take more breaks. To assist you in creating healthy habits, you can utilize any number of reminder and timer technologies available to remind you to take a movement break. One alternative is to set a timer for 30 minutes of work. Set a 5-minute timer for your movement break once the timer goes off, and so on. Alternatively, you can utilize desktop programs such as Stretchy, WorkRave, or Big Stretch Reminder, which all help you keep track of your work time, so you know when to take a break.
- Utilize ergonomic furniture for support
To avoid chronic neck and back pain and other health issues associated with desk work, it’s vital to enhance work ergonomics. The term “ergonomics” refers to the concept of adapting your job to your body. This includes adjusting your entire range of working habits, not just your desk and computer equipment.
Maintaining a neutral posture while you sit to work can be difficult and almost impossible. This is because it requires you to remain in perfect posture and work at the same time. The truth is, years of destructive posture patterns also make it difficult to maintain perfect alignment all of the time. Fortunately, there are fantastic support products on the market that encourage neutral posture and assist in developing healthier ergonomic habits.
The ideal office chair is one of the most crucial tools for promoting proper sitting posture at your computer. “Relax The Back” is a reliable office furniture company that has a wide selection of ergonomic office chairs, many of which include built-in headrests and lumbar support for better spine alignment. Office footrests and workstation accessories such as monitor arms and keyboard trays are other ergonomic support products. The “sit-stand” workstation is becoming increasingly popular—an adjustable desk that effortlessly shifts from sitting to standing. Some studies show that offering employees a sit-stand desk reduces upper back and neck pain by 54% and improves their happiness. Once you have your ergonomic furniture, you should consider creating a workstation.
- Set up an ergonomic workstation
It’s critical to set up an ergonomic desk to attain overall body wellness that you can feel at work and carry home with you. You can ensure that an adjustable workstation is designed to fit you by using the above good posture guidelines and support products. An ergonomic workspace considers factors such as encouraging a full range of motion, keeping frequently used items within arm’s reach, and providing enough legroom and footrests to prevent slumped posture. An ergonomic desk should be designed specifically for you and your body type. With so many ergonomic workplace solutions, you can create the ideal adjustable workstation that keeps you in a neutral position for the majority of the day.
- Build a healthy working environment
A healthy working environment fosters physical exercise and excellent posture, protecting the body from work damage. Consider incorporating various exercise routines into your work activities. If you are a business owner, you can consider creating a meditation or exercise room for your employees or forming a partnership with a nearby gym or yoga studio. You can also set up an onsite health and wellness program. The convenience of an onsite health program is that you can stretch and do other exercises as needed throughout the day. To get the most out of them, do them once an hour.