Studies have shown an association between sedentary jobs and neck and /or back pain. Workers that spend prolonged periods of time sitting are more apt to have neck and back pain due to stressful and static postures. This would include people in jobs such as sewing, professional driving and any job requiring sitting at a computer.
Conversely, studies have also shown an association between laborious jobs and neck and or back pain. Workers that have jobs involving great exertion, physical effort, and prolonged periods of time standing are more likely to have neck pain and back pain due to bouts of strenuous stressful postures. This would include people in jobs such as construction, farming/agriculture, carpenters, factory work, and home cleaning.
Cumulative trauma disorders occur due to repetition of an activity causing an overuse injury. This too can result in neck and back pain as well as upper extremity problems such as tendonitis and nerve compression injuries.
An ergonomic assessment can help to pinpoint risk factors specific to a work station, adaptive equipment and chairs, etc. For a computer workstation or desk there are specific guidelines with regard to distances, angles and positions that should be utilized to decrease stress on the body. There are also specific guidelines with regard to lifting, lowering, pushing, and pulling activities that should be utilized to prevent injury.
Fortunately, there are things that an individual can do independently to decrease the risk of having pain due to postures maintained at a work station .
Awareness of good posture
Frequent change of positions. Get up and walk around briefly and periodically.
Frequent pause breaks to restore circulation .
Move your wrists, neck and torso throughout the day.
Make periodic adjustments to your chair
Tips that one can do to prevent injury risk due to postures that must be maintained during strenuous physical work activities include the following:
Awareness of work tasks that may lead to pain or injury
Use proper body mechanics while performing work tasks
Avoid twisting while lifting
Lift with your legs – not with your back
Stay in good physical condition.
Examples of exercises:
Back extension: This can be done sitting or standing.
Place your hands, palms down, on your lower back.
Point your fingers down and lean back.
Push your breastbone up towards the sky, keeping your elbows pointing straight back.
Hold for 15 seconds then relax.
Repeat the above steps twice.
Sit up straight
Shoulders should be relaxed, down and back.
Roll shoulders forward, up , back and down
To obtain a comprehensive group of desk exercises or schedule a work station assessment contact PT squared.