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Common Physical Problems from Sitting at a Desk

Common Physical Problems from Sitting at a Desk


Recently is has become a well-known idea that sitting for long periods at work can have a negative effect on our health and well-being. With many jobs in the work place based at a desk this is becoming more prevalent. Below I have compiled a few of the most common issues experienced due a desk based job and tips on how to ease and aid in preventing these common complaints.

  • One of the most common complaints is back pain due to prolonged periods of static posture and sitting is one of the biggest culprits. Often when we are sitting for long periods we become tired of the position and begin to slump or slouch in the chair causing additional strain on the structures of the spine and soft tissue surrounding the spine
  • Neck and shoulder pain is most definitely a common complaint for employees who sit throughout the day. Poor posture, head position and use of the keyboard or mouse can cause neck pain similar to that explained above regarding back pain.
  • Wrist or hand repetitive strain injuries are frequent complaints due to long periods of time typing or using the mouse, or a poorly set up work station.
  • Sitting for long periods of time can cause tightness or even pain at the front of the hip joint. This is due to shortening of the hip flexors.

How to try and prevent these problems

Movement is the key component in helping to prevent any of these issues.

  • One of the easiest ways to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting is to get up from your desk often. Do not allow yourself to sit for endless hours in the chair while your posture progressively worsens. Even a simple stand up and stretch your arms to the ceiling can feel great.
  • Try to be active around the office or work environment. Use the stairs instead of the lift or use the toilet on the floor below or above. These are simple but affect ways of getting small bursts of movement into your 9-5 day. If you add these up over the course of a day or even a week it can equate to a lot more movement.
  • Before and after work consider having an active commute, such as walking, cycling or running to the office or even part of the way. Using your commute to work can be a great way to add additional activity to your day and may also save you the dread of sitting in traffic.
  • Having a well-designed work station to suit you is also an important part in optimising your physical well-being at work. Ensuring the chair and computer screen are at the correct height is a great place to start. Organising your desk or work station to suit comfort and your work tasks, can help ease any additional strain that a poorly set up work station may put on your body.
  • We should all be aiming to get a minimum of 30 min of moderate intensity exercise 5 out of 7 days of the week to optimise our health.

If you are experiencing any aches or pains that you think are related to your work, contact the clinic today to book an assessment with one of our chartered physiotherapists. We also have an online booking service.

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