Is your workplace a pain in the back?
30th OF August 2012
These days the vast majority of us spend our days working in offices sitting in front of a computer. We know this sort of work and the decreased level of day-to-day activity that comes with it can cause health problems such as obesity, but new research has shown that musculoskeletal aches and pains are just as serious a problem for office workers.
A recent study published in this month’s edition of WORK: a Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation involved a survey of more than 900 office workers who spent eight hours a day working with a computer.
Eighty-five per cent of respondents said they had experienced neck pain, seventy-four per cent identified feeling shoulder pain and seventy percent reported pain in the back.
Karin Griffiths, lead author of the research, said these complaints are the combined result of people doing more computer-based work than ever before and sub-par workstations, “Though traditionally it was predominantly non-professional employees such as secretaries, data entry and call centre workers who were subjected to long hours of computer-based work, now all office workers, including more highly skilled or senior employees such as architects and engineers, tend to spend a longer day in front of the computer and so are more likely than ever before to experience musculoskeletal pain.”
Griffiths recognises that long computer-based work is here to stay and says the key to preventing workplaces becoming a pain in the back is in making changes to workstations and creating an office environment that encourages movement.
Top Six Ways to Prevent Muscle Pain at Work
1. Encourage your boss to install some standing desk workstations or place telephones at a standing bench so you have to get up each time you need to make a phone call
2. Stand up and walk to your colleague’s desk rather than emailing or phoning them
3. Set a reminder each hour to get up and walk around the office – even if just to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water
4. Leave the office for lunch and walk around the block
5. Stretch out your torso, shoulder and neck regularly and do shoulder shrugs every couple of hours to get the blood flowing
6. Incorporate as much incidental exercise into your life as possible
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