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You might not think of desk and computer-based jobs as being dangerous, but the reality is that they are frequent causes of work-related injuries and even disability.
With more people working from home and perhaps being more sedentary than they would be in an office, the potential for desk and computer injuries is even greater.
The following are five key things to know about these types of injuries.Sitting at a computer for most of the day may sound relatively harmless, but it can actually cause a variety of injuries. Here are some things you should know! Click To Tweet
1. Sitting at Your Computer Can Create Upper Back Pain
When you’re sitting at a computer for periods of time, it can cause forward head posture condition.
You don’t typically sit up straight when you’re working, and then you’re putting a lot of pressure on your upper body.
You’re also probably rounding your shoulders when you work at a computer, and then your head is leaning forward. This can cause the bones in your neck and upper back to change position.
It’s become so common that it’s referred to as Forward Head Posture.
If you don’t get it treated, it can lead to complications like migraines, TMJ, and decreased lung capacity.
2. Around 80% of Adults Will Experience Chronic Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain is incredibly common, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s estimated that chronic low back pain leads to around 26 million lost workdays a year.
Much of the lower back pain we experience comes from sitting at a 90-degree angle so much, and the muscles of the pelvis become tight, creating tension.
You can reduce your risk of developing low back pain from a desk job if you remember to stretch your legs frequently throughout the day.
3. Carpal Tunnel Can Cause Numbness, Weakness, and Tingling
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on what’s called the median nerve. When your median nerve is compressed, it can cause symptoms including weakness, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm.
Symptoms can travel from your wrist up to your arm. You may notice symptoms get worse when you’re holding your phone, along with using your computer keyboard.
Workplace factors are often linked to the development of carpal tunnel. For example, anything requiring repetitive flexing of your wrist can put damaging pressure on the median nerve.
To prevent carpal tunnel, you should take short breaks throughout your workday and relax your grip. Improve your posture, and think about using a mouse pad with wrist support.
Carpal tunnel is one of the most disabling injuries from repetitive strain.
4. Changing Your Desk Arrangement Can Help Prevent Injuries
One of the best things you can do for your overall health and comfort is to rearrange your desk, as well as your computer screen, keyboard, and chair.
For example, you may need to adjust your chair height. You might also adjust your armrests.
Your keyboard should be at a height that allows your shoulders to relax, and you shouldn’t have to overextend your arms to reach it.
5. There Are Steps You Can Take to Prevent Back Pain
If you’re worried about back pain or injuries, the following steps can be helpful:
Always watch your posture. If you have trouble remembering this, make yourself a note or put up a sign. When you’re standing, your weight should be even on your feet. Avoid slouching and choose a desk chair that supports the natural curve of your spine. Your chair should allow your feet to be flat on the floor.
When you’re carrying anything heavy, pay attention to proper form. That means you lift with your legs and brace your core.
If you’re doing repetitive tasks, try to find ways to modify them, even if they’re just small changes.
Because it is so common, we often don’t realize how unnatural it is for us to sit in chairs all day long.
Along with the risk of injury, it also puts you at a greater risk of obesity and heart attack. There’s evidence that a sedentary lifestyle shortens your lifespan too.
Beyond trying to think about your positioning at work, you should also remind yourself to get up as much as possible throughout the day. Even if you’re just standing and stretching your arms over your head every hour, it can reduce the risk of injury and pain and help you be healthier.
Set goals for yourself regarding how much you’ll dedicate to moving your body each day if you work a sedentary job.
Does sitting at a computer ever hurt your back or neck?
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.