4 Tips Chiropractic Patients Can Use While Working At A Desk

There are dangers in everyday life, from slipping in the shower to getting mowed down by the next door neighbor’s teenage driver. The risk doesn’t end once we are safely behind our desks, because of poor ergonomics … sitting is killing us!

Seriously, while not really trying to commit murder, our computer, desk, office chair and keyboard are not our friends. We spend hours each day sitting, typing, staring at the computer screen, and this inactivity is wreaking havoc on our health in a variety of ways.

First, most of us sit incorrectly

Goldilocks knew what she was doing when it came to carefully selecting the right chair. Most of us cause excess stress and pressure on our neck, shoulders, and back from the way we sit in our inadequate office chairs.

According to OSHA, a person who spends time at their computer needs to choose an adjustable chair that supports the back, buttocks, legs and arms. Be mindful of your posture throughout the day as well. An ergonomically adjusted chair minimizes the occurrences of awkward, strained positions that frequently cause injury.

Along with the way we sit, our office jobs are killing us because…

We have our desks laid out wrong

Even with a great chair, a desk that is the wrong height can cause a person to repetitively move and bend awkwardly during the day and injure themselves. Anyone who sits behind a desk needs to make certain it is the right height to comfortably reach the computer keyboard and all pertinent supplies are within a comfortable reach. Add a foot rest to decrease the stress on the lower back. Ergonomically positioning a desk offers greater comfort and less stress on a person’s body.

We also type wrong

Using the keyboard incorrectly can cause a ton of painful medical conditions from neck and back issues to carpal tunnel syndrome. The keyboard should sit at elbow height. Reduce the strain on your hands by keeping them in as natural a position as possible, holding your wrists up even with the backs of your hands. Avoid banging the keys by typing softly, which alleviates the stress on your fingers.

A computer mouse should be situated close to the keyboard, and it’s essential to keep the hand in a neutral position when using it. Avoid resting your hand on the mouse for an extended period of time.

Not taking breaks

According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time is linked to a variety of serious medical conditions from obesity to high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Sitting in the same position for hours can put pressure on and result in back and neck pain.

Break up sitting every 30 minutes by standing and walking around and stretching if possible. Even standing for a couple of minutes at a time lessens the impact of a sedentary job.

In addition to taking the initiative to build an ergonomic office space, choosing to participate in chiropractic care is a great way to help eliminate pain from back, shoulder, and neck strain. Chiropractic treatment involves adjusting the spine, along with other techniques, offering better alignment in particular and a stronger, healthier body in general. A long-term benefit of chiropractic care is a body that enjoys greater mobility and fewer aches and pains.

An ergonomic office setup is critical in maintaining good posture that minimizes strain and repetitive motion injuries. By investing in ergonomically tailored furniture and setting it up to suit your specific needs, you will lessen the harm an office job does to your body.

If you or a co-worker suffer from symptoms related to an improperly positioned workstation, give us a call. Dr. Ness can help get the symptoms under control as well as guide you toward a more healthier spine and working environment.

Dr. David Ness is a sports chiropractor practicing in NY since 1988, and New Paltz since 2002. Dr. Ness is the official chiropractor for the football team at United States Military Academy at West Point since 2015. Dr. Ness also provides chiropractic care at Marist College and Vassar College during the school year.

 

What People Need to Know About Sitting While Working and in School

It’s no big secret that exercise is good for you. Many articles and books have been written and studies completed on the subject of physical fitness. However, lately it’s been discussed as to whether that five mile run or spin class is really enough. Is our work or school environment undoing any positive effort we put into staying healthy?

The short answer is YES. Human bodies were not built to sit for long periods of time. Our twenty-first century workplace — working behind a desk, typing on the computer, endless video conferences — unfortunately stacks against us to keep us on our… well, not our feet.

There are four harmful results on a person’s body that stem from sitting at work or in school all day.

Sitting for many hours each day takes a toll on our backs.

Working at a desk for many hours a day causes employees and students to stay in one position for an extended length of time. This puts a great deal of pressure on their backs. Over time, painful back and neck problems can develop and, if left untreated, continue to worsen.

Sitting also takes a toll on our waistline.

Obesity is at an all time high in the United States, and at least a good chunk of the reason is our sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for a long period (8 or more hours a day) decreases our metabolism, causing us to burn fewer calories. The time at our desks can end up packing on the pounds.

Sitting can increase the chance of developing a life-threatening disease.

Studies show individuals with sedentary jobs have more health problems than their active counterparts. Cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes are both examples of health issues that arise more often in people who regularly sit down most of the day.

Sitting can cause premature death.

This may sound melodramatic, but it’s true. As we talked about above, sitting for prolonged periods of time puts you at greater risk of diseases that may end up killing you. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “found people who sat for over 11 hours a day had a 40% greater risk of dying within three years from any cause than people who sat less than 4 hours a day.”

So, what should a sedentary office person do to improve their health and decrease the risk many hours of daily sitting causes?

  • Get on your feet! Schedule times during the day to stand up and walk around. If you can’t remember to do it, add an alarm on your cell phone. Even a couple minutes on your feet every hour will help balance prolonged sitting.  Dr. Ness recommends getting up to stretch for 1 minute 1-2 times per hour.  It is impossible to undo 8 hours of sitting by stretching 1-2 times per day.
  • Learn to sit correctly. If you must sit, make certain your chair isn’t causing more damage. Select a chair that is height and angle adjustable. The seat should support your lower body, and the back should fit the curves of your spine. Special bonus points go to chairs with lumbar support and that rock.
  • Visit your chiropractor. Back problems brought on by a job behind a desk are not going to magically go away, and can get worse over time. Make a chiropractor appointment, get examined, and work to correct the issue.
  • Invest in a standing desk. A growing trend is to turn a sitting job into a standing job. Desks that are taller have the ability to keep you on your feet longer, which will provide many health benefits in the long run.

Good health is one of our greatest assets, and it pays to protect it. By understanding the risks of a sedentary working environment, we can be proactive in increasing activity and promoting our individual fitness.

If you or a loved one needs more insight on how chiropractic can guide you toward a healthier lifestyle, give Dr. Ness a call. We’re here to help!

Dr. David Ness is a certified sports chiropractor practicing in NY since 1988. Dr. Ness is the official chiropractor for the football team at United States Military Academy at West Point since 2015. Dr. Ness also provides onsite sports chiropractic care at Marist College since 2014, and Vassar College during the school year since 2010.