OFFICE COMFORT

How to make sitting in an office from 9 to 5 more of a comfort zone for you and your body

So you have an office job and spend at least 40 hours a week sitting in front of your computer? And your shoulder/neck area is in knots or your lower back hurts? Don’t worry. This does not mean anything is getting damaged or that your body getting 'worn out' from work.

DETAILS CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Most of us who work in offices will experience back or neck shoulder pain at some time. Usually the pain is not due to anything serious and settles within a matter of days or weeks. It is simply that muscles and muscle groups that are not physically challenged might shorten or become weaker, others will become tense or cramped. This is only natural if you spend a lot of time at a desk, but can be avoided if you are proactive about your own health and fitness.

Forget blaming your office chair

What many people don’t know: your work environment – be it the position of your computer, the height of your desk or the ergonomic shape of your chair – has only a very slight effect on your body. So forget about blaming your office chair. It’s not your chair – it’s probably you!

Of course, it is always a good idea to make your work environment as pleasant as possible. But what really matters in preventing back, neck and shoulder pain is using your own potential to strengthen your muscles. Work out to counterbalance your monotonous or non-use of muscles. Also, watch out for psychological stress factors and try to avoid them.

Factors such as stress or loading yourself with too much work or responsibility can greatly contribute to tenseness. If you experience strains and pains, observe yourself and see when they occur. You might find that if you are following an activity that is exciting and interesting to you, pain is much less likely to occur, whereas in times of stress or discontentment – be it personal or work-related – pain might increase.

So you need to find out: what can I do to be more proactive about preventing pain? We have brought together a few helpful tips.


AVOIDING BACK PAIN AND NECK/SHOULDER TENSION

No chance for occasional strains and sprains

Find out what your personal tension triggers are – stress, workplace conflicts, personal problems – what role they might play, and try to reduce them.

Much back pain is related to stress and psychological strain.

Treat yourself to physical exercise to balance out stationary work. Try to work out at least three times a week. Try running, go to the gym or do some gymnastics. This will not only stretch and strengthen your muscles, but also free your head of stress.

And remember that challenging your body and activating your muscles are key to preventing tense muscles and back pain in the long run.

Try to sit as actively as possible. Change your sitting position as often as you can, and stand up from time to time and stretch.

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If in an office environment, use every chance you can get to or move around: Take the stairs instead of using the lift. Make use of lunch breaks for a brisk walk.

Try to get out of the rut if you feel you are stuck in one.

If stressed, try relaxation techniques (such as yoga breathing exercises) that you can even do at your desk.

No time to go to the gym? Follow some of the simple exercises specifically designed for office workers from our video library.
Move it!

If you must sit at your desk for an extended time, change position often and give your back a break by standing up and walking around every hour or so, or doing some exercises. Take every chance you can to move around and choose the stairs over the lift. In our video library you'll find a choice of exercises tailor-made for office situations and extended periods of sitting.


WHAT IF BACK PAIN STRIKES?

What can you do to help yourself?

A list of simple dos and don’ts that will help you deal with back pain and let you get on with your life.
DO
Stay active as long as usual, if possible. But see your doctor if you are worried about the back pain or if the pain persists or suddenly gets worse.

Speak to your doctor about whether you can keep working and, if necessary, discuss with your employer what can be done to make it easier for you to stay at work.

If necessary, modify the kind of activity that causes you pain.
Smarten up about back pain. Inform yourself and listen to your body. If necessary, speak to a doctor, physiotherapist or a chiropractor.
DON'T
Don‘t stay in bed and wait for the pain to go away. In the past, this was the accepted response to back pain, but evidence shows that this does not help recovery. The sooner you get moving around the better.
Don’t worry. Back pain is rarely serious and worrying too much about it will only delay your recovery.
Don’t avoid activity simply as a way of avoiding the pain.

 

Please note that none of the above tips replace professional medical advice. Consult a health expert in case of an injury or if you suspect overuse of joints or a medical condition such as a fracture. A physician should be consulted in those acute cases where the condition is accompanied by reddening, swelling or hyperthermia of joints, ongoing joint trouble or severe pain and/or are associated with neurological symptoms (e.g. numbness, tingling, loss of motion).

For further information about Elastoplast products, please contact us at consumer.relations.uk@beiersdorf.com 

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