The modern workplace is an overwhelmingly digital one. Processes that used to involve activities like driving, walking, talking and manually completing tasks (doing much of anything) are now comfortably digitized—for many people, work activity involves no more than sitting at a computer desk for 8 hours a day.
There are a few notable effects that this repetitive activity has on the body. For one, neck pain in Eden Prairie is on the rise. In fact, Spine-Health.com reports that 13 percent of American adults suffer from neck pain at any given time.
This kind of data makes workplace ergonomics more important than ever. Neck pain can become chronic and even dangerous—by reducing your visual field when driving, for instance. To mitigate the risk of developing neck pain, adjust your workplace conditions to meet the following criteria:
Keep Your Computer Monitor at Eye Level
Do you tilt your head downwards to see your computer screen? In most office environments, desks and chairs have low vertical clearance in order to create the illusion of a more expansive space. This is especially true of offices that use a cubicle system to arrange the workplace.
If you look directly ahead while sitting at your workstation, your eyes should be fixated on the center point of your computer screen. Tilting your head down for extended periods of time can place additional strain on your back, especially if you lean forward to get closer to the computer screen at the same time.
Keep in mind that your back and neck muscles continuously work to keep your body in an upright position. Tilting your head or slumping generates more strain and increases the risk of damage.
Keep Your Back Straight—The Tennis Ball Method
Since it is important to keep an upright posture when working, you might need to adjust your office chair to provide the ideal height. This takes care of your vertical positioning, but it doesn’t keep you from hunching forward out of habit.
In order to keep your back straight and avoid hunching, you’ll need to re-train your body’s natural posture. One effective way to do this is through the Tennis Ball Method: When sitting, place two tennis balls between the middle of your back and the back of the chair, one on each side of the spine. This does three things:
- It supports proper posture while maintaining it through constant contact with your back muscle
- It creates an acupressure effect, stimulating blood flow throughout your back. This prevents you from feeling so tired and worn out after long periods of work.
- It falls onto the floor when you start to instinctively lean forward. That constant reminder is what trains your body to avoid hunching over.
You can easily improve your posture and avoid the risk of neck pain. Speak with a therapist at Wellspring Health Center to learn more useful tips and tricks for preventing neck pain.