Minimizing Back Pain By Improving Your Computer Work Space
Many people who spend a significant amount of time working on at a desk and on a computer are well aware of the damage that this can do to your back. Of course, there are also plenty of people dealing with back pain for this reason without being aware of what’s causing it. Today, we’re going to look at how you can improve the ergonomics of your workspace to minimize back pain and improve your quality of life in the process.
Why Does Sitting at a Desk and Working at a Computer Cause Back Pain?
There is more than one simple reason for the back pain that can be caused by sitting at a desk and working at computer for extended periods of time. The most common factors include your sitting posture, the layout of your desk, the way that you type, and the fact that you are probably not taking enough breaks away from your desk.
Improving Your Posture and Position When Sitting at a Desk
One of the most beneficial things that you can do to improve your posture and position when sitting at a desk is to find the right office chair. Many people choose the least expensive office chair that they can find to save money. Others may think that they’ve chosen the most comfortable chair available, but have not actually chosen the best chair for their backs.
The US Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommend that you select a chair that is adjustable and one that provides adequate support for your whole body. This means that you’ve got to keep in mind, not just the back support, but the support for your arms and your legs, as well.
Pay attention to how you sit in your chair and be aware of your posture. If your chair doesn’t provide adequate support, consider investing in a new one that does. When shopping for a chair, you should look for the comfort of the cushion, the height adjustment options, and how your arms are supported by the arm rests. A lot of people don’t think about how their arms are supported when they type, but this can have a major impact on your upper back and neck.
Improving the Layout of Your Desk and Accessories When Working at the Computer
If your desk is not at the correct height, then this can cause problems, too. You should not have to bend to type or see your computer screen. It should be easy to reach your keyboard, your mouse, and everything else that you need to complete your work. If you also spend time writing, then you should ensure that you have the space to do so without having to move in an awkward manner. It is also a good idea to get a stool to rest your feet on, keeping your knees at a comfortable level to avoid straining your lower back.
Another common issue for people with upper back pain is the location of their computer screen. This is especially relevant for those who use a laptop or a desk that is not at the appropriate height. If you have a laptop resting on your lap, you are probably holding your head and neck in an uncomfortable and harmful position to view the screen. The same is true in cases where the desk is too low to comfortably hold your head in a straight position. Your computer screen should be at eye level to ensure that your posture is healthy.
If you use a laptop, then you should use it on a desk or on an adjustable laptop stand, that can be set up to keep the screen at eye level. You could even use stacked boards or books to move your laptop screen to a height that is at eye level, as a temporary solution.
It is also wise to keep your keyboard in a position where you can comfortably type without bending your elbows in an uncomfortable way. This will also be impacted by the arm rests of your chair. The keyboard should be at the same level as your elbows, rather than above them. Your mouse should also be close to the keyboard and in a position that prevents you from straining your body in any way to use it. While it may not seem like a strain, whenever you repeatedly use a keyboard or mouse in an unnatural position, damage happens over time.
For many who work at a desk and computer all day, it is worthwhile to invest in an ergonomically designed keyboard and mouse. You can do this if you work with a laptop too, because these accessories can typically be used with laptops as well. A quality keyboard and mouse set up can make a world of difference.
The Importance of Moving Around and Taking Several Breaks Away From the Computer
Whenever you sit in the same position for a long period of time, especially if you do so several days in a row, you not only increase your likelihood of developing high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and obesity; you also put a major strain on your back and your neck. Far too many people spend day after day at their desks without ever taking a break, or taking too few breaks. You may be surprised to learn that you should be taking a break about every half hour.
When you take a break, you should stand, walk, stretch, and maybe even start an exercise routine to improve your heart health, your weight, and your back strength. The more back problems you are experiencing, the more breaks you should take and the more you should move around and exercise to improve your quality of life.
Even while sitting at your desk, you can move your body in health ways. For example, consider listening to music while you work and dancing, even from a seated position. Some people even opt to purchase standing desks that will allow them to work from a standing position. For those who work from home or have other office tasks to attend to, you might benefit from doing chores or other tasks during your breaks, throughout the day, instead of all at once.
Do You Require Pain Medication to Get Through the Day?
If you are in a lot of pain from working in a sedentary position every day, then there’s a decent chance that you are already relying on pain medication to get by. This is increasingly common, but is often not as necessary as people think. Not only could the tips we’ve already presented prevent much of the pain you’re experiencing, but studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective than pain medication and other forms of pain management.
Could Chiropractic Care Make a Difference in Your Life?
The best way to find out if chiropractic care could make a difference in your quality of life is to give it a chance. Call the Chiropractic Health Center to schedule an appointment.