While it doesn’t seem as if there are many hazards associated with working at a desk, such work can take a toll on one’s health. Fortunately, there are many ways to combat the negative health effects of working at a desk. Below are just some of the health dangers that come with a desk job – and how you can prevent them.
Craning over a desk all day can cause lower back pain and neck pain. If you experience this, it’s likely because you’re not adopting the right desk setup or the right posture. Firstly, you want to have a comfortable office chair that has decent back support. Secondly, you want to make sure that your keyboard is directly in front of you so that your body doesn’t have to twist in any way. Finally, try to keep your back as upright as possible. Leaning forwards is what will cause lower back pain. At the same time, you don’t want to be leaning back and looking up at your computer as this will cause neck and back pain too.
Writer’s cramp is a hand cramp, traditionally caused by using a pen for long periods and nowadays caused by typing for long periods. Writer’s cramp has been known to develop into a permanent RSI if ignored. It can be prevented by keeping your hands in line with your elbows as you type (this will usually prevent pain in the wrists). If you start to get pain in the fingers, it’s best to take a break from writing for a few minutes.
Some people can develop sore eyes from staring at a computer screen for long periods. This can also lead to tension headaches and fatigue. There’s no proven link between staring at a computer screen and permanent eye damage, however development of short-sightedness is common in computer-related work – if you notice any vision loss, you might want to go to an optometrist and look into corrective vision options. Wearing glasses while at a computer can cause lens flare for some people, which could make eye strain worse. Anti-reflection glasses can prevent this. In many cases, eye strain can also be prevented by making sure that there is sufficient lighting in the room and that the monitor is not too bright.
Many people with desk jobs live a largely sedentary lifestyle. This can lead to weight gain if you’re not careful – which can increase your risk of developing all kinds of other health problems from hypertension to diabetes. The best way or prevent weight gain is to simply make sure that you’re incorporating exercise into other parts of your day. This could include a gym workout in the morning or a brisk walk on your lunch break or simply commuting to work by bike. Alternatively, you could start trying out a few ‘deskercises’ – these are exercises that you can do while at a desk to keep your body moving.