Is working from a desk a pain in the back? Whether you’re working from a desk in an office or hunched over on your couch as you work from home, you’ll likely experience some level of pain. You weren’t meant to sit for 9+ hours per day, and your body knows it.
The top injuries you can sustain while working at a desk (and what to do about it)
How much damage can an office job do? A lot, actually! We’re sharing the most common office injuries and easy, at-home stretches you can do to reduce your pain and prevent injury.
As always, we’re not doctors (and we don’t play one on the internet), so check with your GP before starting a new fitness routine, always warm up properly, and never push yourself to the point of pain.
Lower back pain
Proper desk posture includes:
- Two feet flat on the ground
- Knees at the same height or slightly lower than your knees
- Ankles in front of your knees
- Shoulders relaxed.
Bad posture increases pressure on your spinal discs, which can lead to painful herniated discs.
To avoid back pain altogether, get a chair with lumbar support and always sit properly. If you’re experiencing pain now, a few cat-cow stretches can help you initiate some flexibility in your spine.
Tight hip flexors
Your hip flexors are the muscles at the front of your hips. Sitting for long periods of time can shorten those muscles, leading to hip pain and reduced flexibility.
To lengthen your hip flexors, add a standing hip flexor stretch into your routine.
- Stand with your feet together, facing forward.
- Kick your right heel back towards your booty, and catch the top of your foot with your right hand.
- Point your knee toward the floor and hold the stretch for 30 seconds before repeating it on your left side.
Neck and shoulder pain
Are you seated in an ergonomic chair right now? Has your monitor been raised to eye level and your mouse placed in an optimal location? If not, your neck and shoulders are likely out of alignment with your spine, causing (or heading towards) pain.
Repeat this neck release 3 to 5 times on each side to lessen the strain on your neck and shoulders.
- Looking straight ahead, with your arms to the side, lower your chin toward your chest.
- Gently tilt your head to the left side for 30 seconds, feeling the stretch on the right side of your neck.
- Repeat and switch sides.
Wrist strain and carpal tunnel syndrome
Who would have thought typing could be so hard on the body? Repetitive motions like typing can lead to wrist strain and carpal tunnel syndrome, a pinched nerve in the wrist that causes tingling and numbness.
To combat wrist strain, wrist flexor and extender exercises can help.
- Hold your right arm out straight in front of you with your palm facing forward and your fingers pointing down.
- Gently pull your right fingertips toward you with your left hand until you feel a slight stretch in your forearm.
- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating on your left arm.
- After repeating on both arms, repeat with the top of your hand pointed away from you and fingertips pointed down.
- Gently put pressure on your knuckles to move your palm toward your body until you feel a slight stretch in your upper wrist area.
Balance seated work with plenty of breaks, walks around the office, and an active life outside the office. Even with a busy schedule, Enhancewell Fitness makes it easy to squeeze in a Pilates-based online class that will leave you feeling strong, flexible, and ready to crush it at work!