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Is Desk Work Killing My Posture?


According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the leading causes of workplace absences. In 2019/20, an estimated 8.9 million working days were lost due to work-related musculoskeletal issues. This highlights the significant impact that MSDs have on the workforce and the importance of addressing ergonomic factors and promoting good posture, and healthy habits, to prevent such issues in the workplace.

 

Sitting for long periods can have detrimental effects on posture, leading to various musculoskeletal issues that impact the spine and muscles. Prolonged sitting can cause the muscles in the back and neck to weaken, leading to imbalances that result in poor posture. This can manifest as rounded shoulders, forward head posture, and a curved lower back, all of which can put excessive strain on the spine and surrounding muscles. Over time, poor posture can contribute to chronic pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, highlighting the importance of maintaining proper posture and taking regular breaks to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

 

So what can you do to improve your posture at work?

 

1.      Adjust Chair Height and use ergonomic equipment:


- Ensure that your chair is at a height where your feet can comfortably rest flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle when seated.

- Invest in an ergonomic chair that provides proper lumbar support to maintain the natural curve of your spine.- Position your computer monitor at eye level to prevent straining your neck and shoulders.

- Use a keyboard and mouse that allow your wrists to remain in a neutral position to avoid repetitive strain injuries.


2. Sit Properly:

- Sit back in your chair with your back supported by the chair's backrest. Avoid slouching or leaning forward for extended periods.

- Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body while typing or using the mouse.


3. Take Regular Breaks to Stretch:

- Incorporate short breaks throughout your workday to stand up, stretch, and walk around, roll your shoulders and your head. This can help relieve muscle tension and improve circulation.

- Perform simple stretches for your neck, shoulders, back, and wrists to prevent stiffness and promote flexibility.


 

Body Maintenance


But even when diligently following these steps, the body will still be affected by your work postures due to the prolonged duration spent in the same position each day. Regular bodywork treatments such as massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and physiotherapy can play a crucial role in maintaining optimal musculoskeletal health.


The frequency of bodywork sessions depends on the type of therapy, individual needs, and other factors. For massage therapy, you can schedule sessions as frequently as desired. If targeting specific issues, weekly sessions are recommended to facilitate progress with each session. For general maintenance, a monthly session can significantly benefit your overall well-being.



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