We often associate the term “workplace injury” with dramatic slip and falls, or accidents associated with heavy machinery. But the truth is, your average 9-5 desk job puts you just as much at risk of suffering a work-related injury—it’s just not as obvious.
Think about it. That pain you feel in your neck everyday isn’t just from your boss breathing down your neck. The majority of people who sit in front of a computer for a living often let posture and neck positioning fall by the wayside, leading to chronic neck and back pain. To make matters worse, the average commute time from the Newmarket area is upwards of 90 minutes per day! Not only is that an additional 90 minutes of sitting, but long commute times often lead to an increase in low back and hip pain.
“An injury is an injury—it doesn’t matter where it comes from,” explains Align RMT Ian Tomlinson. “Whether you hurt your back playing hockey or sitting at a desk for too long, the injury and course of treatment will be almost identical.”
Ironically, a lot of our clients may not realize their 9-5 is to blame for their muscular injury or restriction. “Often times I have clients who come in because easy tasks like brushing their hair, or tying their shoes have become difficult,” Ian explains. “What they’re feeling is a restriction in their shoulders or lower back, which can often be attributed to poor posture and neck positioning.”
You may not feel any ill-effects from poor posture after a day in the office, but over time that stress can lead to back pain caused by tension on your muscles, discs and joints. Poor posture may be to blame for your back pain if it becomes worse at certain times of the day, starts in your neck and moves down into your upper back, or dissipates when you change positions.
If you think you may be at risk for a work-related injury, here are a few ways to improve your posture and protect your body during the day-to-day grind:
Avoid the Office Chair Hunch: When working at a desk, keep your back flush against your chair with your shoulders tall and your head level over your spine. Your knees should be level with your hips with your feet flat on the floor. Remember—your computer screen should be at eye level to prevent craning your neck up or down.
Don’t Chain Yourself to your Workspace: Take advantage of your coffee breaks! Stand up, walk around and do some basic stretches when you have a free moment in your day. Ian also recommends stretching before and after a long commute—pay special attention to your hips, as we tend to create a lot of tightness here when sitting behind the wheel.
Book a Massage Appointment: During your appointment, Ian will take the time to give you personalized stretches to help prevent any further work-related injury. Contact the clinic to schedule an appointment with Ian today.