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Stand up for health: Are you at risk for Office Syndrome?

Young exhausted african american male office worker having back discomfort at work desk in office. Fatigued casual businessman feeling back pain after sitting on uncomfortable chair for long hours.

Whether you’re stuck behind a computer all day or caught in meeting
after meeting, sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to one of
the most common reasons for chronic back pain out there – Office Syndrome.

The appropriately termed ailment is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms stemming from the act of sitting at a desk. Instead of putting up with low back pain, sciatica, SI (sacroiliac joint) and hip joint pain, eye fatigue, headaches, stomach aches or knee pain, be proactive and do these five easy things that promote spine health.

Check your posture

Did you know? When you sit slumped over at your desk or look down rather that straight ahead, you’re putting unnecessary stress and weight on your neck. When your head is angled even 45 degrees downward, you’re putting 50 lbs. of weight on your spine, which will contribute to tension in your back, headaches and neck pain. Research shows that pressure in the disc spaces while sitting are up to two times higher than while you’re standing. This can lead to accelerated disc degeneration and problems like disc bulging or herniation. Taking breaks and stretching are highly important throughout the day. So is good posture.

Good posture includes:

  • Sitting upright with your shoulders back
  • Do not cross your legs. Try to keep them flat on
    the ground or on a foot stool.
  • Keep your wrists straight and rest your elbows on
    your desk or chair to keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Try to distribute your weight evenly between your
    hips and don’t lean or slouch to one direction.

If standing, keep your feet about hip-distance apart. Stand
with your knees slightly bent and most of your weight on the balls of your
feet. Tuck in your stomach and pull your shoulders back to maintain the three
natural curvatures of your spine.

Perfecting your posture can do wonders for improving back health and can aid in joint pain treatment.

Move often

Humans were not meant to sit for long periods of time. Don’t
stay in the same position for an extended period of time, as doing so is one of
the causes of joint pain. Even if you have the best posture, sitting in the
same position isn’t good for you.

  • Work to include at least 15 minutes of standing every hour, if possible (working up to 30 minutes is even better).
  • Go for a quick walk, stretch your legs and take advantage of all break times.
  • Spend a few minutes every hour stretching your legs, arms, back, wrists and neck.
  • Stretching is a basic exercise you can do right at your desk, without leaving the office.
  • Change your posture every hour to avoid muscle fatigue and strain.
  • Rest your eyes

Staring into a computer light for hours and hours at a time can cause eye strain, headaches and fatigue. Every half hour, make it a point to take a minute or two to look away from the screen to give your eyes a rest from the glowing back light. You can close your eyes or merely look across the room and focus on a different object. You can also stretch your eye muscles by keeping your head straight and moving your eyes to focus in different directions all around you.

Drink water

Don’t go hours and hours during your work day without something
to sip on. It’s important to drink plenty of water to keep muscles and organs
hydrated. By drinking water, you’ll feel better while also being able to
maintain healthy circulation in your muscles. Adults should drink eight 8 oz.
glasses of water per day, which equals about half a gallon.

Get enough rest

Yes, that’s right. Even your activities outside the office can play into preventing Office Syndrome. Aim for seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep every night to give your body time to rejuvenate itself.

Your body needs sleep to relax muscles and reduce inflammation, which can improve joint health. Nearly 80 percent of people with arthritis have trouble sleeping and usually blame their sleep issues on the condition. However, it works both ways. When you don’t get enough sleep, it makes joint pain worse. The key is to find a comfortable sleeping position, perhaps on your side with a pillow between your legs. Using the right mattress can also help with joint pain relief.

Help when
you need it

Headshot of Dr. Abjiheet Kadam, Orthopedic Spine & Surgery doctor

Dr. Abhijeet Kadam, Orthopedic Spine, Orthopedic Surgery

Do you believe you might be suffering from Office Syndrome or other forms of severe chronic back pain or joint pain? Newton Medical Center offers an orthopedic clinic specializing in spine injuries and surgery. Dr. Abhijeet Kadam and Christian Cox, PA are experts in their field and will help you find the right treatment approach for your back pain and joint pain.

Whether you’re suffering from arthritis, generalized back
pain, slipped discs, scoliosis, osteoporosis or many other spinal injuries and
traumas, Dr. Kadam offers innovative techniques through posture and body
mechanics education, therapeutic exercise, spinal injections and more.

Make an appointment with Dr. Kadam at NMC
Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
by calling (316) 283-9977.

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