An individual spends one-third of his/her life at work, according to a recent study by Gettysburg College. It means that for most of your days, you’re stuck in front of your desk, typing away and taking very few breaks until your shift ends. After a few months or years on the job, you may start to develop mild pain on your back, wrist, or even neck.
If you have started feeling this pain, you may have ignored it. After all, many of your coworkers feel it, too. In fact, about 25% of U.S. workers report having lower back pain.
However, the pain may intensify, distracting you from your work and forcing you to take time off to rest your body or go to the hospital for a checkup. You wouldn’t want to use up all your sick days and lose productivity because of chronic pain. Here are some things you can do to deal with your condition.
Back pain, according to Mayo Clinic, may have various causes. If your job consists of heavy lifting, the force you exert in carrying items and the repetitiveness of the action may cause you to injure your spine. If you have an office job, plain inactivity may cause the back pain.
To manage back pain: Start by combining exercise and a healthy diet to bring down your weight and strengthen your bones. This way, there will be less fat putting stress on your spine. If you have a calcium-rich diet, your bones will be less prone to fractures. Pay attention to your posture when sitting on your desk all day. Make sure you don’t crane your back; adjust your monitor’s height accordingly. Lower your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor. Take regular walking or stretching breaks to relieve the tension on your spine.
While minor wrist pain after a long day at work isn’t serious, constant and intensifying pain may lead to something more severe. You could be at risk of tendonitis, which is an inflammation of your wrist tendons. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also a possibility. This happens when tissues surrounding your wrist bones swell and squeeze on your median nerve. Not only does it cause pain, but it also makes your fingers feel numb and weak.
Both of these conditions result from repetitive movements and poor posture. To address wrist pain: Straighten your spine while sitting on your desk, and invest in ergonomic computer peripherals. Ask your company if they can get you a keyboard with a wrist rest or a vertical mouse. These will keep your hands and arms at a natural position while typing and clicking. It helps to stretch your arms and shake your hands as well from time to time.
Focusing on the road or being glued to your computer screen all day may likely cause discomfort in your eyes, or even double vision. It is called eyestrain, and it’s one of the most annoying conditions when you just want to get your work done quickly. Mayo Clinic attributes this condition to stress and fatigue, in addition to exposure to bright lights.
To combat eyestrain: Give yourself screen breaks every time you finish a task. Walk around the office and look outside to rest your eyes. When you are on a crunch, try to blink every few minutes or so to moisten your eyes. Do you work nights? Use apps like F.Lux to warm your computer display so that it doesn’t blind you with a bright white light.
While chronic pain or strain is common among employees, you should not take them lightly. Some conditions may worsen and need surgery to treat. This is why you should take these tips to heart and make them a habit while you’re at work. Before you know it, you’ll be blazing through your tasks because your back and wrist pain no longer holds you back.