We do not usually consider a typical day at the office, working at a computer, to be physically taxing. No, this type of modern work does not involve hoisting hay bales, digging dirt or sweating (unless the AC stops working). But the long hours spent seated can take a major toll on our bodies, leading to a condition called "Office Syndrome."
Do You Have Office Syndrome?
Office Syndrome is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms commonly suffered by individuals whose professions require prolonged hours seated in front of a computer screen. Office Syndrome occurs when individuals do not practice proper posture. They slouch or hunch over with rounded shoulders and a protruding chin. As a result, core muscles weaken and other muscle groups become increasingly tense, causing the following symptoms:
- frequent headaches
- neck, shoulder and back pain
- tingling, numb arms and hands
- eye strain
- dry eyes
Office Syndrome plagues office workers everywhere. At first glance, these afflictions seem manageable. If left unaddressed, however, they can lead to serious health problems such as depression, insomnia and inflexibility. Individuals with advanced Office Syndrome find it difficult to move, turn or even lift their heads.
6 Tips to Prevent, Counteract and Cure Office Syndrome
If you have Office Syndrome, don't worry. You do not have to switch careers to feel better; you just need to change a few habits and probably make some adjustments to your workspace.
- Practice Proper Posture - Sit up straight with your shoulders back and down and your chin tucked to elongate your spine. Remember that good posture is important during office hours and also during your down-time.
- Adjust Positions - Prevent muscle fatigue and subsequent slouching by adjusting your position hourly. Change the angle of your seat back or –better yet – stand up for a walking break.
- Arrange Ergonomically - Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your mouse and keyboard should be directly in front of you, at a comfortable distance, with your arms properly supported. Your computer screen should either be level to or slightly below your line of sight.
- Stretch - Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch. Roll your shoulders, touch your toes and relax your jaw.
- Exercise - Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. During your workouts, work hard to increase your heart rate and focus on movements that will help support your posture by strengthening your core muscle groups.
- Massage Therapy - Schedule a massage to ease muscle tension over the weekend following a long week at the office.
Office Work Does Not Equal Office Syndrome
Spending your days typing emails, digging through files and clicking a mouse does not mean you are destined to develop office syndrome or suffer the pain associated with working in an office. Just be sure that, when you are behind your desk, you practice good posture and arrange your workspace in a way that allows you to maintain healthy postural alignment throughout the day. Then, you can click away, type away and effectively perform your way to a healthier life.