You have a stressful desk job that often causes your back and neck to become sore. Visits to your chiropractor help, but the pain persists in returning. It's time to look at your office layout and see if something there is causing the pain. When sitting all day, focused on your work, even simple adjustments to your office can make a difference in whether or not you'll end the day in pain. Here are some typical adjustments to make to your office space.
Notice Where Your Head and Eyes are Pointed
If you work on a computer all day, you're likely looking slightly down. This puts a curve in your upper spine and stress on the muscles surrounding it. Your upper back and neck muscles become tense if held in this position for a long time. Raise the computer monitor so it is at eye level. This forces your head and neck back to look straight ahead. This is the normal position for your spine so your muscles can remain relaxed.
Be Cautious of Reaching
Notice how you reach for your computer mouse. If it is far away from you, you may have to reach and slightly turn your spine to touch it. If your neck and back muscles are already tired from staring down at your monitor, the added stress of reaching while turning the spine can actually cause a muscle strain or sprain in your upper back. Move the mouse closer to you so it is next to your keyboard and can be reached without straining muscles.
Reaching for other objects can cause muscle strain. For example, if you frequently use a stapler and you keep it on a shelf far out in front of you, a quick reach for it while your back and neck muscles are already tense can strain them further. Put any objects you use every day within easy reach. Remember to move slowly when reaching for items, too.
Support Your Back by Adjusting the Chair
Ideally, your chair should let your feet be flat on the floor, upper legs parallel to the floor, your lower back settled in the chair against a supporting cushion with your upper back straight against the back support. Many office chairs keep your knees too high, your lower back tilted forward and your upper back curved forward to balance out the curve in your lower back. This puts stress on your lower back, upper back and neck muscles as they strain to hold this unnatural posture.
Adjust your chair controls to get the best posture for your back. Use a small pillow or cushion in the small of your back if needed. Use a short footstool to raise your legs for better back posture.
Fine-Tune the Adjustments with Your Doctor
A chiropractic office, like Action Chiropractic, can take x-rays and evaluate your spine to help determine how to adjust your office. They may detect slight curvatures in your lower back, upper back or neck regions that require fine-tuning of your chair, desk and computer. Once you have your office set up to maximize good posture and movement, you'll prevent ending your day with annoying neck and back pain.