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Tips to Reduce Back And Neck Strain At The Office

Dec 12

Dr. George Traitses

Meetings, data processing, switchboard work, telephone customer service and a host of other office duties may seem easy but sitting all day actually is stressful on the spine, according to Dr. George I. Traitses of Scarborough/Markham, local representative of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA).

“This can lead to irritation of the nerves in the neck, and middle and lower back, resulting in general discomfort and stiffness,” says Dr. Traitses. Whether you choose a specialty chair – designed for keyboarding, reception, executive seating or drafting – or simply place a back (orthopaedic) support form between you and your old chair – following these few simple rules for good posture and work habits can help minimize problems:

  1. Adjust your chair properly. Here’s how:
    Stand in front of your chair and adjust the seat so that its highest point is just below your knee cap. Sit so that there is large enough space to fit a clenched fist between the front edge of the seat and the lower part of the legs. Ensure that the back rest supports the hollow of your lower back. Adjust the height of your chair so that your work surface is at elbow height when you are seated; determine elbow height by holding your arms straight down at your sides. Use a foot rest if, after adjusting the seat to the proper height, your feet still are not resting flat on the floor.
  2. Rearrange your work station so that your body faces your work at all times. Avoid chronically turning your head or body in the same repetitive way.
  3. Take frequent mini-breaks to roll your shoulders up and back, to relax the upper back muscles.
  4. When talking on the phone, hold the receiver in your hand; do not cradle it between your neck and shoulder. If you are on the phone a great deal, use a hands-free phone or headset.
  5. Always sit up straight with your lower back supported; elbows close to your body and shoulders relaxed.
  6. Do not cross your legs at the knees; this twists your pelvis and lower back. Cross at the ankles, if you wish.

Chiropractors are licensed as doctors, authorized to diagnose and treat conditions concerning the spine, muscle and nervous systems. Chiropractors work to promote optimal health and wellness through positive lifestyle changes.