Sedentary jobs requiring you to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time are more detrimental to your body’s physical health in the long term than a job with more strenuous physical demands. Studies show that the amount of stress and strain on the body dramatically increase with sedentary occupations.
Improper workstation ergonomics can lead to postural or positional stress and in turn, can directly result in injuries of your upper, lower back, shoulders, neck, elbows, hands and wrists. Some early warning signs to look out for are: decreased grip strength, numbness, and discomfort or pain in your arms, hands, legs, shoulders or wrists.
Repetitive strain injuries can lead to limitations in recreational activities or hobbies which can ultimately lead to diminished mental health. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to ensure full recovery and continuation of your current lifestyle.
What can I do?
1) Get up off your chair! – No one has ever become fit from sitting at a desk. Move, stretch, rotate positions every 30 to 60 minutes to prevent muscles from fatiguing and tightening, promote blood flow, and to prevent joint and nerve compression.
2) Adjust your workstation – Proper workstation ergonomics means your monitor height should be centred at eye level, shoulders should be relaxed with elbows and forearms supported on armrests, feet should be flat on the floor (use footrest or phone book if needed), and back should be completely supported and resting against chair back.
3) Avoid unnecessary strain – Frequently used items such as the files, keyboard, phone, etc. should be within an arm’s length away so that you can avoid turning, twisting or reaching excessively.
4) Talk to a Physiotherapist – Early intervention or preventative strategies can reduce discomfort and risk of greater injury