Pain clinics around the country see plenty of patients complaining of work-related back and neck pain. KindlyMD pain management doctors hear the same complaints. Neck and back pain among office workers who spend their days sitting in chairs and working on computers is fairly common.
Work issues aside, back pain is actually the most often heard complaint in the doctor's office. The combination of a sedentary lifestyle and daily activities that put stress on the back make it nearly impossible to avoid experiencing back pain at some point.
Getting back to work-related back and neck pain, there are ways to deal with it other than taking prescription or OTC pain relievers. Here are just a few suggestions:
Ergonomics is the science of adjusting one's environment for the purposes of reducing unnecessary stress on the body. In an office setting, ergonomics addresses things like seating, posture, computer position, etc.
Perhaps your current work environment is not especially ergonomic. Take some time to research how you might change that. Just repositioning your computer screen or changing the way you sit in your chair could make an enormous difference.
Some people find pain relief simply by changing their positions as often as possible. Perhaps there are certain tasks you can do while standing. Reading your email is one possibility. If you can do it standing up, give it a try. Frequently switching from a sitting to a standing position requires your body to use different muscles. Over several weeks, you might actually feel a lot better.
If alternating between standing and sitting is not possible, you can at least change your position in the chair. You can shift your weight to one side and then the other. You can sit as far forward as possible and then alternate by reclining slightly. There are plenty of possibilities.
Another helpful tip is to take regular breaks. Every hour or so, stand up and stretch. Take a walk during your morning and afternoon breaks. The idea is to move as much as possible whenever your work affords the opportunity to do so.
Taking regular breaks will also alleviate the stress on your eyes. Believe it or not, doing so could reduce tension in your neck and thereby reduce your neck pain. Additional pain relief could come from holding your head straight up instead of staring at a screen. So on your breaks, leave your phone at your desk.
You knew it was coming and here it is – a recommendation to get regular exercise. Stretching exercises throughout the workday can keep your muscles relaxed and your joints nimble. Away from the office though, regular exercise can actually strengthen those muscles and joints.
Stronger muscles are better able to support the joints. And when that happens, you are less likely to experience back and neck pain. As an added benefit, regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risks of developing a long list of health conditions.
None of this is meant to suggest that all work-related back and neck pain is minor and can be alleviated through ergonomics and exercise. There are legitimate cases of severe pain requiring professional pain management.
If you are experiencing severe back or neck pain, we urge you to see your doctor or make an appointment at our pain clinic. KindlyMD pain management doctors will do everything possible to help you. If your pain is minor, try the tips you just read about.