5 Simple Ways to Prevent Injury at Your Desk

Many Americans are now working office jobs that force them to be sedentary at a desk all day long. Poor sitting or slouched posture, commonly seen with these sedentary office jobs can produce pain in the spine.

desk-man-sitting-office

Here are 5 simple ways you can prevent desk injuries:

  • Maintain a clean desk and office space.

Many people may not
think about it, but having a disorganized desk can cause injury.  For example: reaching for something while
seated in an unstable chair and bumping or tripping against an open desk or file
drawer.  Keeping a tidy desk and office will reduce your risk of injury.

laptop and wrist
  • If your body begins to hurt, change your position or stop that movement.

Many desk injuries
occur because of repetitive and forceful movement tasks. These events occur
with higher frequency in the shoulder, neck, and hand. Simply changing the way
you perform a repetitive motion, when you notice extra fatigue or pain, like
using a trackpad vs. a mouse, can make a difference.

  • Arrange your desk to function for
    you.

Desk arrangement can be
essential to preventing injury.  Objects
on or around your desk can hurt you such as electrical cords, open file
drawers, and stationery. Additionally, keep your space clear of objects and
place your computer squarely in front of you.

Schedule Breaks
  • Schedule Breaks.

Making time for rest is
a vital tool for preventing injuries at your desk. Effective use of breaks can
prevent and reverse some of the effects of repetitive tasks and overload at
work. High stress is known to increase the risk of injuries; for this reason,
you can use your breaks to reduce stress. Furthermore, while on your break, you
can perform micro-stretches to move the neck, back, and shoulder joints.

  • Keep moving!

The body is not meant
to stay still.  Sitting for long periods
of time even with “good” posture will lead to stiffness which can cause pain
and injury. Our bodies need to move to remain flexible and maintain necessary
circulation to joints and tissues.

Roberto Molina, Physical Therapist, recommends the best desk work ratio to be about 50% seated vs. 50% standing.

Finally, following the listed tips, getting up from your desk once per hour and stretching will keep you energized, and you will be less susceptible to back injury. An occasional 20-minute walk is also encouraged to increase blood flow to otherwise stationary muscles.

Take
these steps to heart and you will feel better and be more productive!

Catholic Health Services is committed to sharing knowledge
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For information about our rehabilitation services, please
visit us at www.CatholicHealthServices.org

Information provided by Roberto Molina, PT, DPT, Board
Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist at St. Catherine’s Rehabilitation
Hospital in North Miami, Florida.