Find yourself with stiff shoulders and backaches after a long day of work at your computer? These are common ailments for many professionals in Singapore, as deskbound office jobs result in employees sitting for prolonged periods without moving around.
Even as offices gradually reopen, remote working is undoubtedly here to stay in Singapore — with many companies and workers preferring hybrid work arrangements. Whether you’re heading back to the office or working from home, you’re probably still no stranger to the physical aches and pains of being stuck at your desk all day. Let’s take a closer look at the common types of desk job injuries, their causes, and how you can prevent and treat them.
Common Aches and Pains
If you are often deskbound for work, here are a few common problems that you might have experienced:
- Lower back pain: Sitting for prolonged periods can place stress on your spine and cause lower back pain, a common work-related problem. This is often made worse by slumping forward to look at laptop screens or slouching in a chair with poor back support.
- Stiff shoulders & neck: Slouching while seated also puts pressure on your neck, and staying in one position every day can strain the muscles in your shoulder.
- Repetitive strain injury: This is a gradual buildup of damage to one’s muscles, tendons, and nerves, caused by repetitive motions over time, such as working at a computer.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: A type of repetitive strain injury caused by repetitive motions such as typing, which results in numbness and weakness in your hand.
Causes of Desk Job Pain
The culprits of the afflictions mentioned above often boil down to several common factors across deskbound jobs, namely: poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, and lack of movement. Your work environment, especially your set-up at home, might not be the most optimal for spending long periods of time. As you might expect, sitting hunched over a laptop, staring at a screen and typing for hours on end has adverse effects on both your physical and mental health.
Simple Ways to Alleviate Desk Job Pain
1. Maintain good posture
Proper posture is essential for preventing back and neck pain. If you are using a laptop, consider getting a laptop stand or a monitor — the key is for your eyes to be level with the top of your screen. That way, you won’t constantly be tilting your head to look down at your screen. Ensure that your feet can touch the ground when you sit and avoid crossing your legs as well.
2. Get a proper desk set-up
Setting up your desk and workspace in an optimal manner can significantly help with improving posture. If you’re working at home, a good ergonomic chair or adjustable standing desk can be worthwhile investments. Place your keyboard and mouse right in front of you, such that your elbows are by your side and bent at 90 degrees when you are using them.
3. Take breaks
It is crucial to give your mind and your body rest from time to time. Studies show that taking frequent walks can help reduce the risk of neck and lower back pain in sedentary workers. Thus, it is always a good idea to get up and move around your home or office every so often, be it to grab lunch or make a cup of coffee.
4. Exercise & stretch
Doing exercises to strengthen your muscles are great for relieving pain. If you have not been active while working from home, there’s no need to pressure yourself with intense workouts. You can always start with desk exercises, gentle pilates and yoga to stretch your stiff muscles and ligaments, or a quick jog to get some fresh air in the morning or evening.
However, if you are experiencing severe or persistent pain, you are encouraged to seek medical help from a specialist at an orthopaedic clinic in Singapore such as OrthofootMD. Feel free to reach out to us at any time as we are more than happy to help with any aches and pain you may be facing in your desk job.