The preference of white collar jobs has seen many people sitting in offices for long hours on a daily basis. With time, a good number of them complain of back and neck pains. Some of those who’ve been working for years have had to be treated for these conditions. If you’re just starting out, it is important to learn some preventive measures.
Signs of incorrect office posture
To begin with, how do you determine that the pains you’re experiencing are as a result of your posture and not an entirely different cause? The first sign is that such pains come after being in on position for a long time. If you’re seated all day, you might have a dull ache begin in the afternoon and get worse as the hours go by.
You’ll experience some relief when you change position, perhaps when you stand. You may also experience such pains after acquiring a new office chair. Once you’ve identified the source of the problem; you can now take precautions.
Check your Sitting Posture
Most hours in the office are spent sitting. A strain originating from here can have long-term health effects.
- Get a good quality ergonomic office chair. Even if your employer does not provide one, it is a worthy investment for you to make. Notice that the back of the chair is curved appropriately to support your back. Align your back with these features. Most of us stoop forward when we sit; eventually straining the back.
- Always sit with your back straight even when not leaning. Your computer should be at eye level and close enough so you don’t have to bend forward to see.
- You can also sit on a balance/stability ball, such as the one used when exercising. Sitting on the ball pushes your pelvis forward and the shoulders shift back to maintain balance. Do note that a normal chair can be turned into an ergonomic chair by adding back and neck support pieces which are available separately.
- Also beware of unbalanced postures which you may take subconsciously and may contribute to the discomfort. Avoid crossing legs unevenly when sitting, tilting the head, hunching the shoulders or leaning on one side.
- Get up from your seat at least every hour to stretch your muscles. You can take a bathroom break, walk over to a colleague’s desk or simply take a brief walk within the premises. Talking of walking and standing, your choice of shoes is of essence.
- Avoid high heels when walking or standing for long hours. Low stable shoes allow you to distribute your weight evenly on the feet. With high heels, the body’s center of gravity is shifted forcing the spine to strain in an effort to keep balance.
- If you have to stand for long like when making a presentation, place a rubber mat on the floor for extra cushioning.
If you’re going to spend the better part of your life in the office, you may as well make it comfortable. Practice the right posture until you get it right. It may not be easy, but isn’t your long-term health worth every effort.