Today’s desk job is a far cry from your grandpa working on the farm. He faced the fickle nature of the elements, and doubtless experienced injuries while making a life for himself and his family. What he didn’t do was sit on his keister for hours on end typing away at an electronic geegaw. Those of us connected to computers for hours on end on a daily basis experience specific injuries and pains that our ancestors most likely did not. Maybe scientists know what the work-related stresses were for Cro-magnons that hunted and gathered, but I personally remember when the term Carpal tunnel made its way into common-use language and it was a long time after that.
Technology rocks and has turned us into a global community in remarkable ways; it can also be incredibly painful to work with computers over prolonged amounts of time. In addition to pains radiating throughout the body one can also experience eye strain, tension headaches and even nausea after a while. Troublesome symptoms aren’t the same for everyone but there is a direct correlation between your desk habits and the way you physically feel.
And though this subject matter is nothing new (there have been plenty of studies done on ergonomics, proper chair/screen/keyboard alignment) but it’s amazing how quickly we forget the little tricks that help keep us going strong, so here’s a reminder…
Adjust your setup.
Yes this often takes a lot of trial and error because the chair that works for your 6’2 friend is most likely not going going to work for someone who’s a foot shorter. If your chair is the wrong height in proportion to your desk (or for your leg length) you will find out soon enough because body parts will begin to hurt, or worse, fall asleep. Try this: take your first two fingers and press down on the fleshy part between your neck and shoulder; is it sore? How about on your neck at the base of your skull? Then you seriously need to adjust your setup before you end up needing medical attention.
Take a break!
When we’re in the zone, work-wise, it’s easy to keep going until we drop. But you need to get up and move away from your desk at regular intervals (please tell me you actually have a proper desk). Stretch, breathe, do some yoga if you know the moves, do some jumping jacks… get oxygen flowing and you’ll not only start feeling better you’ll return to your desk with a sharper mind.
Work it out.
If you work with computers then I firmly believe that preventative care is crucial. I’ll even go so far as to say that massages should be a tax write-off. Even when you’ve got your set up in order and you take the required breaks and stretches it doesn’t change the fact that any long time positioning or usage will start to take a toll on your body. Make the time to look after yourself so that the rewards of technology are not also your downfall.
Written by Evelyn Rand. Need a massage? Take a Spa Break.