Back pain can vary from mild discomfort to sharp pain that makes it difficult to sit, stand, or even sleep, which is why it is the single leading cause of disability across the globe. Fortunately, you don't have to let a back injury interfere with your ability to provide for your family. Here are three ways to alleviate back pain symptoms at work.
1. Ask for a Standing Desk
Did you know that the amount of time you sit every day directly ties to your overall health? In addition to lowering your risk of obesity, people who stand more often are less likely to have poor posture and less likely to die from some preventable illnesses such as cancer.
Because the spine is naturally straight and sitting causes the discs to move closer together, researchers have found that the force between the L4 and L5 vertebrae are as much as 40% greater when you are in a seated position, causing back pain. However, you can alleviate this pain and pressure by asking your employer about a standing desk.
Standing desks are designed with a higher platform for your keyboard, monitor, and other office essentials, giving you the chance to stand instead of sit as you go about your normal daily activities. Most standing desks are adjustable, giving you the chance to experiment with your perfect workstation, to accommodate people of different heights.
If you are determined to start using a standing desk, don't try to make the transition too quickly. Because it will take time for your body to adjust to your new work style, start slowly, by standing for twenty minutes at a time. When you get used to the shorter timeframes, work towards standing for longer and longer periods.
2. Adjust Your Monitor Height
In addition to standing more frequently during the day, focus on adjusting your monitor height so that you don't have to crane your neck to look into the screen. Back problems are tied to monitors that are too low, and people who respond to emails on their cell phones since looking down adds pressure to the cervical vertebrae.
As a general rule of thumb, your computer monitor and workstation should be high enough that you can rest your arms at a 90-degree angle to type, and you don't have to bend your head at all to see in the center of your computer screen. If your monitor isn't high enough to help you to avoid pain, invest in a monitor stand.
3. Incorporate Exercise
In addition to making a few changes around your office, focus on adding a little extra exercise to your day by doing things like taking the stairs and making the most of your lunch breaks. Consider heading on a walk outside before you head back into the office or doing a few stretches before you leave for the day.
Although exercise might seem like a way to exacerbate back injuries, studies have actually found that it can help to alleviate symptoms since movement increases blood flow and muscle tone. Activities like walking, yoga, and low-impact exercise like swimming can help people to lose weight, reduce back strain, and improve muscle strength, which can significantly reduce back pain symptoms.
Remember, if something at work caused your back pain, you might have a personal injury claim worth pursuing. Talk with the professionals at The Law Office of Meier, Wickhem, Lyons & Schulz, S.C. to find out if you have a case. With years of experience helping people with worker's compensation issues, our team can help you to gain the peace of mind and financial stability to heal.