Living a sedentary life will have its drawbacks, especially for those who spend hours working at a desk job with little physical activity. According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since the 1950s. Working a sedentary job is closely associated with poor health outcomes such as chronic pain and a higher risk of mortality. Employees who sit at a desk all day are more likely to experience aching, stiffness, and general pain in areas like the back, the neck, and the shoulders. You can find ways to reduce these health issues through minor changes. Here are tips on how to reduce pain from sitting at a desk all day, without the use of drugs.
1. Adjust your screen monitor
Believe it or not, the way your computer monitor is positioned can have an impact on your neck and shoulders. If the screen is set up too low or high, this can create a strain on your upper spine. Ideally, the screen should be set at eye level, so that you aren’t having to constantly crane your neck in bad positions.
2. Find a comfortable desk chair
Because you will be sitting at a desk all day, the chair that you sit in will play a role in supporting the curvature of your spine. Find a chair that has comfortable seating, strong back support, and good mobility. The chair should allow your thighs to be horizontal to your knees, and your knees to be at hip level. Also, consider getting a chair with armrests; armrests will allow your shoulders and neck to relax while sitting. The chair’s height should be adjusted so that there is enough room for your legs underneath the desk. Ergonomic chairs are considered the best in terms of working in an office space.
3. Practice good posture
Posture can be a difficult habit to keep, especially if you aren’t already used to the practice. However, it is worthwhile to practice good posture if you want to reduce back pain. While working at your desk, remind yourself to keep a straight posture wherein your upper back is leaning against your chair. This will do wonders for the cervical spine. If you are prone to forgetting about keeping up good posture, keep a stick-it note as a reminder around the office.
4. Avoid cell phone usage
When working at your desk, opt to use the computer over your mobile device. The computer is more likely to be at eye level, while a phone or a tablet is more likely to be held from below. Staring down at a phone or a tablet will increase your chances of text neck, a repetitive stress injury that results in neck pain, strain, and soreness. Generally, using a computer is better for the posture than using a mobile device.
5. Take frequent breaks
What causes sedentary-related pain is a lack of movement for the body, for minutes or hours at a time. You can use 1- to 5-minute work breaks to move away from the desk and stretch your back, neck, shoulders, arms, and legs. This will keep your body stimulated and feeling energetic. Moving during a break will also prevent cramping and stiffness from happening.
6. Try corrective exercise
Daily exercise can be effective for pain relief, especially for the muscles, tendons, and joints that are negatively impacted by sedentary work. During your breaks, you can try specialized exercises like the cow stretch, a yoga pose that provides relief to your back and chest. You could also use chiropractic exercises that are specifically designed to address upper and lower back pain.
7. Use physical therapy
Hypnotherapy is a form of guided therapy that uses hypnotic techniques to achieve a trance-like state. Hypnosis is a popular method for relieving chronic pain, but hypnosis for drug addiction or alcoholism is also common. This alternative form of therapy is supposed to increase suggestibility for the patient. During a hypnotherapy session, the doctor will guide the patient into pain relief, inducing a state of deep relaxation to reduce pain in the back, neck, or shoulders.
8. Visit a doctor or chiropractor
If all else fails, you can choose to visit a healthcare professional to find a solution for any sedentary-related chronic pain that you are experiencing. A doctor can come up with a treatment plan for you that doesn’t involve prescription medication or invasive surgery if you prefer a treatment option like that. Chiropractors, in particular, are suited to care for patients who are dealing with chronic pain as well as musculoskeletal disorders.
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.