In many work environments where healthy working conditions are not the employer’s priority many people can suffer from a number of health issues related to their work.
Often times back pain issues top the list.
But also unhealthy or sedentary activities outside of work can contribute to the problem.
Studies suggest that 70 to 80 % of adults are likely to be affected in the UK…yes, that many!
This happens often due to prolonged time sitting at a desk (with improper posture) but can also happen to people who work in physically demanding jobs with one sided movement and/or with lifting heavy objects involved.
The sitting problem
Sitting causes your hip flexors to shorten, and your seated position can also hurt your back, particularly if you have bad posture or don’t use an ergonomic chair.
Also, poor posture while sitting can cause compression on the discs in your spine and can lead to premature degeneration, which results in chronic pain.
Hands down, sitting hours on end without getting up for a break can’t be good for you.
And also it doesn’t matter how active you might be before or after work (or the period of sitting), the damage will be done!
Now, next week we will look at some of the solutions and answers how to prevent back pain and deal with it, especially at work.
For the moment we’ll look further into the causes.
Let’s just say in an ideal world your core and back muscles are well strong to hold you up straight and in balance.
Yes, balance is the key here – the balance of weight on your spine’s discs.
Hunched back and ‘text neck’
Hunching over your keyboard is usually a sign that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back.
Over time, this type of posture can contribute to you developing a rounded upper back, which can cause shoulder and upper back stiffness.
When hunching over a computer, your head may tend to lean forward, which can lead to poor posture. Using a mobile can cause similar problems dubbed “text neck”.
Poking your chin
The poking chin posture can be caused by sitting too low, a screen set too high, a hunched back, or a combination of all three.
Cradling your phone
Holding your phone handset between your ear and shoulder places strain on the muscles of the neck, upper back and shoulders.
The neck and shoulders are not designed to hold this position for any length of time.
Over time this posture can place strain on the muscles and other soft tissues, and lead to muscle imbalances between the left and right side of your neck.
These three are the most common bad postures at work, at least when it comes to desk work.
If that’s how you spent most of your work day, then you might already be having back problems or they might show up for you sooner or later – promised!
But it’s not the end of the road.
Of course it’s better to do something preventively before it’s too late because back damage is most likely not reversible but you need to do it in any case.