Office Pain Syndrome is the pain in the various parts of body related with office work. The condition is characterized by headaches, pain in the back of shoulder, neck and back, the pain may be localized of radiate down to the fingers often with numbness. Weak eye sight and dry eyes may also accompany the symptoms.
Isn't it irony that offices throughout the globe have arrangements for different kinds of maintenance required in the office premises for computers, electrical equipment’s etc. but there is no arrangement to check the day to day impairments occurring to the human bodies working there, after all it is also a machine. The article is therefore intended to create an awareness about the importance of mobility exercises for office workers.
But why does this occur?
It is generally due to the fatigue of your upper back and neck muscles. Fatigue can’t be prevented but by improving posture and doing regular mobility /stretching exercises it can be reduced and delayed thereby increasing ones working hours and productivity.
Posture correction techniques are mentioned in our section Improve your posture in 5 Steps.
The following set-up for your office work station will minimize postural stress in sitting
- Sit with your hips and knees at approximately a 90-degree angle. This means sitting with thighs almost horizontal, level with your knees.
- The chair seat should be padded and at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) wider than your hips and thighs. It should slope down slightly.
- Sit back against the back of the chair unless the front edge of the seat presses into the backs of your knees. If the edge does press into the backs of your knees, change the chair for one with a seat of less depth. There should be two to three finger spaces between the edge of the chair and the backs of your knees.
- Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor. If, once you have set up the rest of the equipment, it is necessary to raise your chair, use a footstool. Do not sit on your feet, twist your feet and ankles around the legs of the chair or sit cross-legged on the chair.
- If the chair has a lumbar support, make sure it is positioned correctly: against your lumbar spine rather than higher on your back or lower against your sacrum. Practice raising and lowering the level of the chair back to get comfortable.
- Adjust the tilt of the chair back so that you are not leaning too far back but at the same time are not sitting too erect. When using your chair, sit back into it rather than leaning forward towards your desk. If necessary, draw your chair closer to your desk.
- Remove the armrests of the chair if these prevent you from sitting close to your desk.
- The base of the chair should have five points that roll on casters.
- There should be adequate space beneath the desk and above your thighs.
- The desk itself and the area beneath the desk should be free from clutter, and any cables or wires should be fixed securely out of the way.
- Ensure that items used frequently are close at hand on your desk.
- Centre the keyboard directly in front of you.
- Avoid positioning the keyboard too far from or too close to you. Either position, if prolonged, could stress your upper limb.
- Ensure the keyboard is free from glare.
- Work with your elbows close to your body and your arms and shoulders relaxed. Elbows should rest at approximately 90 to 100 degrees of flexion so that your forearms are almost horizontal.
- Wrists should be nearly straight, not overly flexed or extended, in line with your forearms.
- Choose a mouse that fits your hand comfortably and enables you to work with your wrist as straight as possible.
- Avoid holding your wrist in a deviated position when using the mouse.
- Avoid holding your arm in an outstretched position to use the mouse.
- Avoid resting your elbows or wrists on a hard surface.
- Hold the mouse lightly and tap keys on the keyboard lightly.
- Position your monitor directly in front of you.
- Check that it is about an arm’s length away.
- Position your monitor so that the top of the screen is approximately level with your eyes.
- Ensure the screen is free from glare.
- If necessary, use a document holder to prevent looking down and to one side whilst typing.
Keyboard and Mouse
Exercises for Office Pain Syndrome
Gentle stretching exercises play a very important role in prevention and treatment of Office Pain Syndrome. A common excuse is lack of time to do exercises is lack of time therefore these exercises have been designed to be done at office without consuming much time.
Do these stretches 3 to 4 times a the day, or whenever you feel stiff.
Be sure to get up and walk around the office once in a while. You’ll feel better!
A summary of the above exercises is given in the image below you can download the image take a print out and paste in front of your desk as a ready reckoner.