How to Avoid Office Health Risks

April 23, 2014

Working at an office can be more dangerous than you might think. We’ve learned that sitting all day has tremendous effects on your health and well-being, but there are other problems associated with your desk job that can creep up on you unexpectedly. Here are a few office health risks and how to avoid them:

Lower-Back Pain
Low back pain is an office health risk that’s extremely common among both men and women. Sitting for hours isn’t doing your posture any favors, and results in slouching that can put strain on the lower back. But constantly pushing your shoulders back into a straight, awkward position can also have negative effects. To prevent this, be aware of your posture while you sit, and don’t forget to stand and stretch every so often to give your back a break.

Other Muscle & Joint Pain
We’ve mentioned this before, but 85 percent of Americans suffer from muscle or joint pain at some point during their lives. Pain doesn’t discriminate, men and women are equally effected, and in more than one place on the body. The most common areas include the knees, neck and joints. These office health risks can be avoided, if you remember to switch from sitting to standing periodically throughout the day. The key is small movements at designated intervals. Once you’re home for the night, take a walk around the block and perform a few stretches before bed. It will help both physical and mental stresses.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you’re constantly at a computer, chances are you’re typing the majority of the day. If you’re not, then gripping a pen and scribbling notes can eventually cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Any motion that’s repeated isn’t ideal for the wrists. Before you have to result to prescriptions or surgery, stop and stretch your wrists during the day. If you have a keyboard platform, you can adjust it so the wrists are in the most ergonomic position to prevent any kind of strain.

Beyond damaging your wrists, eyestrain is another common office health risk experienced among desk workers. After staring at your computer for several hours, you may notice your vision start to blur and your eyes become more sensitive. Headache, neck strain and dry eyes are another symptom of eyestrain. Prevention starts with making sure the computer screen is an adequate distance from your eyes. You can use one (or both) of our monitor arms to help you achieve the best placement. We’ve covered eyestrain prevention extensively in a previous post, so learn more HERE.

Stress—it’s probably the most common office health risk experienced today. It’s the biggest cause of employee illness and absences, which means productivity loss. Less serious stressful situations can be controlled by breathing and relaxation tools. Another option is to walk away. Leave your desk and take a break, then face the problem head on. In case you missed it last week, check out our post on “How to Cope with Office Stress” to learn more about how to deal with difficult work situations.

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