Office jobs are notoriously sedentary, and sitting all day isn’t good for the body. Unfortunately, too much sitting can cause chronic pain, especially in the back and shoulders. Feeling a little stiff in the neck? Check out these five things you can do to prevent pain from developing or worsening!
1. Take Part in Physical Activity
One of the simplest ways to cut your risk of developing chronic pain from an office job is to stay as active as possible. In one recent study involving older adults and pain modulation, one of the tests the participants undertook measured the facilitation of pain responses in response to uncomfortable stimuli. In short, the investigation found that when older adults took part in moderate to vigorous exercise, they had lower perceptions of pain, and those who did at least some activity were also able to block some pain perceptions.
Committing to an exercise program could help you deal with the stiffness and muscular tension that can result after a day at the office. Moreover, as this study shows, exercising could make any pain more manageable by making it less prominent.
Even though this research centered on older adults, it’s a worthy reminder of the benefits of exercise. The results could also help you stay motivated whenever you’re feeling a bit run-down from your day at work and don’t find the idea of a workout incredibly enticing.
2. Try Transcendental Meditation
Maybe you’ve noticed you feel more uncomfortable after a stressful day. If so, that’s likely because the stress caused you to harbor tension in your body, which built up and caused pain. People typically hold tension in certain areas of their bodies, such as their lower backs, necks and shoulders. You may have also heard of tension headaches, which can also get worse or begin due to stress.
If you’re concerned about stress becoming a substantial factor that could lead to the development of chronic pain, it’s time to check out transcendental meditation — a type of meditation that involves chanting a mantra. Researchers asked people to do it for four months, then evaluated the results. The meditators felt less stressed and even had higher emotional intelligence after the test period, compared to those in the control group.
There are also plenty of books and meditation apps you can try to grasp the basics of meditation. You might be able to join a beginners’ class in your area, too!
3. Correct Your Posture
Using proper posture minimizes the gravitational pressure on your spine. That’s why it’s useful to keep some posture pointers in mind to avoid chronic pain, such as keeping your shoulders back and square with your computer screen, and ensuring your feet are flat on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
If you’d appreciate reminders to sit up straight throughout the day, consider researching apps that will remind you to do so. Some posture-correction apps even come with a device that adheres to your back and gives you bio-feedback about how to maintain better posture. The product is small enough to carry with you and has a non-intrusive design you can take advantage of while at work or home.
4. Invest in Ergonomic Equipment
Ergonomic equipment helps you work comfortably and efficiently. That often means it promotes keeping your body in the correct alignment and helps stop you from reaching too much to get the things you use most frequently.
When you’re thinking about buying some ergonomic equipment and don’t know where to start, begin with your options for office chairs. Most of the leading options have an impressive amount of adjustment, allowing you to customize the major and minor aspects of a chair to suit your body. You may also want to look at keyboards and mice, especially if your office job requires spending most of the day on the computer.
5. Break up Your Day and Your Tasks
Repetition is another culprit that can lead to chronic pain if you don’t take decisive steps to manage its effects. The nature of your job may make it difficult or even impossible to avoid repetitive duties entirely. In that case, aim to take frequent breaks. You don’t necessarily have to leave your office to do so, since even a minute or two of stretching at your desk can help relieve discomfort from repetitive motion.
Or, if your schedule allows it, alternate between repetitive tasks and ones that are more varied. If it’s not possible to take a complete break, the next best thing is to start on a different workplace responsibility that allows for another kind of movement.
Conquer Your Chronic Pain Risk
Although there’s no foolproof way to stop the possibility of chronic pain affecting your life, these tips can reduce the likelihood of your office job contributing to future pain issues. Also, if chronic pain starts becoming a problem for you, it’s essential to get a professional opinion as soon as possible. Interventions ranging from heat packs to yoga could help you get the matter under control before it starts negatively impacting your productivity!