Common Desk Job Injuries
Learn How To Prevent Them
Desk job injuries may sound like a strange concept. When we think of workplace-related injuries, we wouldn’t usually think of office jobs as a leading culprit. In reality, sprains, and strains related to office jobs account for more than 60 percent of work cover claims.
Spending eight hours a day hunched over a desk staring at a computer screen can have some serious impacts on your physical health. We aren’t suggesting you rush out and quit your job; there are other ways to overcome some of the most common desk job injuries.
Sitting for an extended period can contribute to bad posture by putting extra strain on your back and neck muscles, causing muscle fatigue.
Holding your body in a fixed position such as sitting causes your muscles to fatigue as in reduces blood flow to your muscles, bones, and ligaments.
This prolonged inactivity leads to stiffness and pain in the shoulders, back, neck and arms, even causing headaches in some cases. These injuries can be further exasperated if your workstation is not set up correctly.
Preventing Posture-Related Injuries
There are a few tips to avoid muscle and joint injuries and bad posture while working a desk job.
Sit with your computer at eye level to keep yourself from having to look down all the time as this adds extra strain on your back and neck. Work at a desktop computer when available, or place your laptop on a raised surface such as a pile of books or an adjustable laptop stand.
Set your keyboard up at a height which allows your elbows to rest comfortably by your sides. Your forearms should be parallel with the floor but also level with the keyboard. Adjust your chair so that your feet can be placed flat on the floor. You can also use a foot stole to support your feet if it feels more comfortable.
Use an ergonomically designed keyboard that supports your wrists and keeps your hands in a more natural position. You can also purchase ergonomically designed chairs which support your back by holding your spine in a neutral position.
Taking frequent breaks can help the ease the pain of desk job injuries. Go for short walks outside or around the office, do stretches at your desk or even just standing throughout the day up helps.
Eyestrain Caused By Computers
Looking at a computer screen for extended periods of time can cause problems for two reasons. The light emitted by the screen, and looking from the same distance point for a long time, both cause fatigue.
Your eyes prefer to view things from around six meters away, so looking at your computer screen so close up for such a long time places extra strain on your optic muscles.
Eye fatigue, while not being proven to have long-term damaging effects on eyesight can cause blurred vision, headaches, and temporary short-sightedness.
Do not have your computer screen directly facing a window or other light sources such as a lamp ceiling light. The glare can cause further strain on your eyes. You should also tilt your screen slightly to avoid any other glare and refractions.
Do not sit with your face too close to the screen, and make sure to look away frequently. Try to focus on objects in the distance; this will give your eyes a break from the close up the strain.
Reduce the brightness of the screen and have it at eye level or slightly lower. If you find that you frequently suffer from blurred vision, headaches or inability to focus your eyesight, have regular check-ups and eye tests.
Desk Job Injuries From Using A Laptop
It is becoming increasingly common for employees to work on their laptops, even in the office. Their use has only made desk job injuries more and more common.
Keep in mind laptop’s were only invented to be used for short time periods when you couldn’t work on a desktop, for example, commuting or working out of the office.
There are a number of reasons laptops cause more desk job injuries than a regular computer. The main reason is the proximity of the monitor and keypad.
The screen/keyboard placement does not allow for correct posture. When the screen is at eye level, the keyboard becomes too high for adequate arm position. If the keyboard is the right height for your arms, you have to hunch over to see it.
Carrying your laptop around can also cause extra strain on your muscles and joints.
Preventing Desk Jobs Injuries Caused By Laptops
If possible, use your laptop less, it’s even worth investing in a desktop computer, especially if you often work from home. While it may cost you a few extra dollars, it will save you plenty of headaches, and backaches, in the long run.
Use input and output devices that connect to your laptop computers such as docking stations, a separate keyboard, and mouse, or a laptop stand. Also, take frequent breaks, stretch and move around.
If you are required to carry your laptop around often, opt for a backpack or a suitcase with wheels, this will help ease the strain on your shoulders and back.
For more information on general health and well-being or to book an appointment, contact us on (03) 9369 9766.