Careers that require sitting at computers for the majority of each day take a toll on your body. Though you may not constantly be doing strenuous activities, your body is still at risk of pain and injury. Sitting at a computer and leaning towards a screen and keyboard can really stress your back and neck over an extended period of time! Did you know that neck pain is the fourth-leading cause of global disability? Chronic pain is the top factor in absenteeism from work, with neck and low-back pain being the top two complaints.

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So what are some of the contributing factors? Research has found that job demands, peer support, and decisions by authority figures all combine to have a significant impact. With a higher level of support from supervisors, though, it was found that complaints about neck pain were lower. In contrast, lower peer support resulted in increased complaints of neck pain! The work environment is also a factor as when lighting, temperature, room size, air quality, and other factors were rated as low, research found there was a higher risk of neck pain among workers.

Those working with computers daily were also subject to neck and lower-back pain based on the position of their computer monitors, keyboards, and chairs, as well as the level of their wrist and arm support. For example, in line with increased distance from a monitor, researchers found an increase in slumped posture as workers tried to view their monitors more clearly. The ability to focus on the monitor affects posture, which, in turn, affects the levels of neck pain. Regular breaks that interrupt a prolonged poor posture can help take some of the stress off the body.

Even if an office job may not seem to be so strenuous as to have an adverse impact on your body, it still can! While you may not be moving much, it’s important to remember that more than just movement influences the body! Keeping ourselves healthy and happy means making sure we can do our work and take care of ourselves both at work and away from the office!

It may seem obvious, that workplace positioning is important!

Longer sitting = more pain and dysfunction.

Keown GA, Tuchin PA. Workplace Factors Associated With Neck Pain Experienced by Computer Users: A Systematic Review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2018. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2018.01.005.

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