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Tips on How to Reduce Back and Neck Pain at Work

Did you know that being at a desk all day in front of a computer is not ideal?

Or continually looking at your mobile device, phone or tablet, can be aggravating to your neck and back?

We are sure you do!!

At an Osteopath in South Melbourne, we give advice to our patients on a daily basis on work place ergonomics as well as how to help prevent or ease back and/or neck pain at work.

Each person may present with pain in the same area, but be caused by different issues… so it is important to understand the best way to manage YOUR pain and complaint.  The tips below are generalised and may give some people a lot of relief, while it may not help others – so please speak to an osteopath near you for further advice, care and assessment of your complaint. They will provide you with a thorough diagnosis, treatment, management plan and exercises to help you move and feel better!!

But in the meantime….here are some workplace tips!

  • Keep moving!!!
    • Walk around the office every 45-90 minutes
    • Set an alarm to go off every hour or so to remind you to move, or do some stretches – this can be of your gluteals (buttock muscle), quadriceps, hamstrings, neck or shoulder and chest muscles,
    • Stand up when you are on the phone if you can,
    • Take deep breaths and roll your shoulders backwards, forwards and shrug them up and down,
    • Stand up and do some generalized hip rolls to get the hips, lower back and pelvis moving
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator

You may also like to use:

  • A lumbar support for your lower back to help support your seated position at your desk – or use a proper ergonomic chair fitted properly to your body!
  • Heat packs and/or Ice packs – they can be very beneficial if an area is inflamed, painful, tight and aggravated
  • Massage Tools such as spiky ball can help get out those nasty knots in the shoulders, neck, back, hamstrings and gluts
  • A posture aid brace to help keep shoulders back and give awareness of “better” posture at your desk

Also:

  • Go outside at lunch time for some fresh air, vitamin D and general movement
  • Reset your workplace every day to ensure you start in a comfortable position daily!

To help reduce Back and Neck Pain at work we must also ensure that our desk ergonomics are set up as optimally as possible:

This includes:

Chair:

  • Seat is positioned so both feet can be flat on the ground, and knees are at 90 degrees flexion (bent at right angle) and thighs are parallel
  • There should be a 2 finger width space between the back of the knees and the base of the chair
  • The chair seat should allow for the hips to have 90-120 degrees flexion which allows for less strain to be placed on both the lower back, hip flexors and body in general
  • The chair needs to support the WHOLE of the spine
  • The back rest can be reclined to 10-20 degrees from vertical
  • Knees to be under the desk comfortably with no obstruction or draws underneath blocking or twisting your body
  • You sit into the back of the chair comfortably

Computer Set Up

  • The monitor should be positioned directly in front of you
  • The monitor should be positioned so that eye level is about 1/3 down from the top of the screen
  • The distance of the screen to you should be about one arms length away from you
  • The keyboard should be about 10-25cm’s from the edge of the desk in front of you
  • 90 degrees of elbow flexion when hands are flat on the desk
  • Keep your mouse next to your keyboard. It often has a tendency to creep away and up from us which contributes to sore neck and shoulders and a twisted spine!

Additional TIPS

  • Use of document holders to place documents in better position
  • Ergonomic Mouse if required
  • Use of wrist support for typing and mouse use to keep the wrist on a more “neutral” position
  • Head piece for concurrent telephone and computer use
  • Use of a footstool if desk is too tall and cannot be adjusted and the feet cant reach the floor

 

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Jacque Amaya

Jacque Amaya