Is Your Office Job Affecting Your Spine?

desk-jobWhen you think of the world’s most hazardous jobs, you probably think of coal miners, race car drivers, construction workers, or those brave professionals who wash windows high up on skyscrapers. The world is full of dangerous jobs; that’s why workers compensation is such a huge industry in America and throughout the world. People need to know they’re protected from work-related injuries and mishaps.

But there is another kind of job—one that growing numbers of people do on a daily basis—which is deceptively dangerous. We’re talking about the office job.

You may think that working in an office is about as safe as you can get, but that’s simply not true. Office jobs present a long list of sneaky physical dangers that can result in serious injury over time. In fact, one of the most important parts of the body is put under a lot of stress in an office setting: The spine. As the importance of spinal health—and the risks presented by long hours at the office—are better understood, people are looking for solutions to preserve optimal spinal health at the office.

Why office work can be detrimental to spinal health

Mostly, it’s the pressure from hours of continuous sitting. The human spine is designed for a healthy amount of movement and flexibility on a daily basis, and when this doesn’t happen, problems result over time. The structure of the spine can be misaligned and damaged, resulting on chronic back/neck pain and other symptoms. The Mayo Clinic also links prolonged sitting to high blood pressure, excessive levels of blood sugar (possibly leading to or exacerbating diabetic illnesses), increased fat, and high cholesterol.

But the average office worker doesn’t need scientific or medical studies to tell them about back and neck problems from too much office work. The proof is in how people feel after a long day, week or month of sitting behind a desk.

How can office workers improve spinal health at work?

This is a hot topic today, especially given the large numbers of people whose jobs require hours of sitting each day. It’s possible to read all day about preventive measures, but everything falls into two basic categories:

1. Workplace ergonomics

The position of your keyboard and mouse, the quality and design of your chair, and even the lighting/organization in your office can all contribute (or harm) your spinal health over time. Medical experts agree that a careful survey of your workplace ergonomics is crucial to long term health. Many professionals are also experimenting with standing desks and even treadmill desks to keep their bodies more active while they work digitally.

2. Regular breaks/movements/stretches

It’s easy to get sucked into work and forget to take breaks; when you do get up and move around, it should be more than just a trip to the coffee machine. Several minutes of careful stretches (gentle yoga postures or sports stretches are a great example), or even a mid-day exercise routine, works wonders when it comes time to sit back down and get back to work. Setting up a disciplined schedule for movement and break time will get most professional on track to better health in a hurry.

What can you do outside the workplace?

Regular visits to a qualified wellness practitioner, especially one that specializes in chiropractic care and therapeutic massage, can be a huge benefit to modern office professional. The medical benefits of professional chiropractic care are well researched, and spinal health is routinely improved/maintained by this method. Massage is another way to improve circulation, spinal health, and overall wellbeing while engaged in full time office work. By taking a more systematic, proactive approach, office professionals can do what needs to be done—without worrying about health risks!