Carpal tunnel and back injuries can be very real concerns for those of us who work at our desks most of the day. In fact, carpal tunnel is quickly becoming one of the most common on-the-job injuries in the country. By analyzing and correcting the way you sit, type and work at your desk, you may be able to fight the risk of carpal tunnel and other pain associated with office work. These might include: neck pain, back pain, tension headaches or numb/tingly fingers.
Make Your Workstation More Spine-Friendly
With just a few quick fixes, you can help yourself avoid some of the most common causes of back injuries, as well as other pain.
- Improve your posture to avoid fatigue. The easiest way to do this is by lowering or raising your office chair. A good rule to follow is to make sure your knees and hips are parallel, or that your knees are slightly higher than your hips—whichever is more comfortable. You might also consider a lumbar cushion to help maintain your body’s natural curve in the lower back. This will help you sit up straighter and avoid fatigue.
- Make sure your computer monitor is eye-level. Looking at your screen straight on puts a lot less tension on your neck and spine. A good way to tell is when your ears are parallel with your shoulders. Hunching over or straining puts a lot of tension on the neck and back. Try lowering or raising your monitor so your head is in a comfortable position. If you can’t raise your monitor enough, try purchasing a desktop riser that elevates your screen. These are especially great if you use a laptop.
- Adjust your keyboard. Many of us spend most of the day typing. It’s important to make sure our hands and wrists are as relaxed as possible to avoid strain, fatigue and the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, a keyboard that’s too high can cause you to hunch your shoulders, while one that’s too low leaves you unsupported. You can also help yourself by keeping objects you use most often close at hand. Things like your mouse or office phone should be within comfortable reaching distance at all time.
Learn More with Choice Chiropractic How-Tos
Staying comfortable throughout the work day will help your feel better and could decrease the chances of long-term injury. Try implementing the tips we covered above. For more information and some quick office stretches you can try, visit the Choice Chiropractic How-Tos video page.