Health Effects of Sitting at a Desk
With the transition to a more technology-driven world and people working from home these days at makeshift desks, it’s no surprise that more than 80 percent of Americans have sedentary desk jobs. And while this may seem like a safe line of work, desk jobs where you sit for more than 6 hours a day actually increase your risk of death by 40% more than those who sit for less than 3 hours a day. Fortunately, getting active during the day as well as supporting your body through chiropractic care, dynamic stretching and an ergonomic setup can help you stay healthy and comfortable despite your work conditions.
How does sitting at a desk affect your body?
Depending on your posture, desk setup and daily habits, you can shift your alignment and experience a range of symptoms connected to your work.
Hunching over a keyboard can put your neck in an awkward position and place unnatural stress on your spinal column. In turn, you can worsen your posture by overcompensating for the neck pain you’re experiencing.
Characterized by numbness, tingling and inflammation in the arms and hands, carpal tunnel is an extremely common injury among desk workers. This condition is directly caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist but can be linked to the repetitive motion of typing or navigating a mouse.
Sitting almost immediately disengages the muscles that support your body, which makes you more susceptible to shifting vertebrae, misalignments, and subsequent back pain. Slouching in an unsupportive chair or leaning forward puts extra strain on your back and can result in spinal disc compression or herniation, which causes radial nerve pain a number of other seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms
You may not even feel the effects of sitting in your back, neck or shoulders. Instead, you may experience symptoms like headaches, sinus pressure, tingling in your extremities, and exacerbated allergies that your chiropractor in Bend will trace back to your spinal column.
Chiropractic Care for Sedentary Workers
You may think you have your pain under control with over-the-counter medicines; however, it will not truly go away until you address the direct problem. That’s where chiropractic care and massage therapy come into play. These treatment options manually shift your body into alignment and provide almost instant relief in multiple ways:
Realigning the Vertebrae
Your chiropractor will work their way from your feet to your head to help you get back into proper alignment. These adjustments remove pressure on nerves and compressed vertebrae to deliver results as early as your first visit.
Relaxing Tense Muscles
After weeks, months or even years of desk work, you are likely holding tension in areas like your shoulders and lower back. Massage therapy focuses on myofascial trigger points, also known as “knots,” to manually encourage your muscle groups to relax and relieve tightness.
Tailored At-Home Exercises
In some instances, your muscles may be too weak to support the appropriate posture. If that is the case, your Bend Total Body Chiropractor will give you daily exercises that can help strengthen these muscles and give you relief after a day of sitting.
What You Can Do to Avoid Injury:
While some pain is inevitable with a sedentary job, there are steps you can take to ease the effects on your health and body.
- Take 1- to 2-minute breaks every 30 minutes to an hour to stretch, walk around and reengage your back, core and leg muscles.
- Keep your head, neck and torso in line – avoid leaning forward or slumping backward in your chair.
- Check in every few minutes to be sure your shoulders are relaxed down away from your ears.
- Adjust the middle of your monitor to be level with your eyes to prevent neck strain.
- Support your body with an ergonomic chair – one that will cradle your lower back, keep your arms at a 90-degree angle, allow you to keep your hips in line with your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Use wrist supports and type gently to avoid putting pressure on your wrists and hands.
Working a desk job is not an automatic detriment to your health if you take the necessary precautions to support your body. Coupled with massage therapy, chiropractic care can ensure you do not have extended pressure on your spine and help you feel relaxed despite the stress of pressing deadlines. Schedule a visit with us today to start feeling your best.