Joint pain is uncomfortable, frustrating, and quite annoying to most people who find it extremely difficult to go to work every day and spend eight hours in the office. However, you can’t call in sick whenever you experience joint pain which is why introducing some ergonomics tweaks can significantly relieve joint pain and make your time at work (and later at home) more bearable. This article will list 11 tips that will help you tackle the pain and improve flexibility. Let’s start.
What causes joint pain?
Before you see 11 important and easy things you can do to relieve joint pain at workplace, we’re going to discuss WHY you experience joint pain. There are many causes of joint pain and below are some of them:
- Osteoporosis – Loss of bone density which affects women primarily.
- Excessive weight – Being overweight or obese forms a greater pressure on your weight-bearing joints thus causing pain
- Synovitis – It is caused by a distended joint capsule and is defined as an infection of the synovial membranes that surround the joints
- Sports injuries – While contact sports can cause joint pain and injuries, the most common causes of sports injuries are poor training methods
- Autoimmune diseases – Some types of joint pain are result of your body’s immunity attacking healthy cells and tissues.
- Other causes – Ligament sprains, flu, occupational injuries, wear and tear etc.
To Stop this from happening, you could implement these 11 ergonomic workplace hacks as soon as possible.
1. Move around
Sedentary lifestyle and prolonged inactivity can aggravate joint pain you feel. In order to prevent this, you should get up and move around every 20 – 30 minutes. Furthermore, you should also take short micro-breaks that last between 1 and 2 minutes. Micro-breaks aren’t breaks from work. Instead, they are breaks from specific activity that engages only one group of muscle e.g. typing. During micro-break, you should either stand up and stretch or perform some other activity.
2. Keep your head up
Working all day in your office can be quite exhausting and you usually start slouching or looking down. When you do this repeatedly, you usually experience pain in your shoulders, neck, and upper back. To prevent this from happening, you should always bear your posture in mind, keep your head up and focus on the middle of your screen while working.
3. Position computer monitors at eye level
Ideally, your eyes should level with the top of your screen (unless you’re using a really big monitor). This can also help you keep your head up and prevent joint pain. The center should be at least 15 degrees below the line of sight and about an arm’s length away.
4. Use document holder
If your job involves going through numerous documents on daily basis, then you will definitely benefit from document holder. When you place document on your desk, you have to look down or slouch. Repeating this action constantly every day will result with pain in your neck, shoulders, upper and lower back which is something you don’t want. Document holders raise your folders at eye level thus protecting you from pain.
5. Keep must-haves close
When you’re at work, make sure that your essentials are within arms reach. This will stop you from stretching and putting a greater pressure onto your joints just to reach something on multiple occasions.
6. Choose the right chair
This is one of the most important things you should do when it comes to joint pain prevention at workplace. Ideally, you should opt for an office chair that is comfortable but also offers a strong lumbar support. Your lower back naturally curves, which means that you should choose a chair that follows this curve in order to keep your back supported and comfortable throughout the day.
7. Keep your feet flat on the ground
Keeping your feet flat on the ground will lessen the tension in your ankles and knees thus providing a more comfortable position. If you’re not able to reach the ground, then you should use footrest.
8. Avoid sitting with legs crossed
Sitting with legs crossed makes it difficult to keep your spine straight and maintain adequate posture. It also misaligns your hips and it’s needless to mention that sitting cross-legged can cause varicose veins.
9. Invest in high-quality mouse and a keyboard
Just because your mouse and keyboard came with desktop, it doesn’t mean you have to use them. Ideally, you should use mouse and keyboards that are designed to provide better functionality with a good hand feel. Furthermore, if you’re using laptop for work, you should use a separate keyboard which will prevent you from hunching, leaning, and stretching.
10. Make your chair fit
Buying a comfortable chair that also offers lumbar support isn’t enough, it also has to fit. How to know whether a chair fits? It’s easy; when sitting back there should be at least 1-inch gap between your knees and the edge of the seat. Furthermore, seat of the chair should be at least 1 inch wider than your hips and thighs. The chair itself should be wide enough for your back, but not too wide as it would restrict arm movements.
11. Arms support
First, you should never rest your wrists and elbows on edges of your desk. If this action is regularly repeated , it could compress the nerves and cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Ideally, you should have a chair whose armrests are adjustable and set so forearms are supported when elbows are bent at 90 degrees and wrists straight.
With these simple and easy-to-implement ergonomics hacks from this article, you will be able to prevent forming pressure on your joints and alleviate the pain. Furthermore, all these tips also promote creating comfortable yet joint-supporting environment that will also improve your productivity at the same time.