Ouch, my back aches. My neck and shoulder also stiffened. Have you ever had these symptoms? You might feel heavy like bearing something all the time, or you might have pain in writs. Sometimes, if you use the computer for a very long period and are then exposed to the sunlight, you might feel the burn in your eyes. Your eyes might feel dry or teary. Maybe these are signs that you’re having Office Syndrome. Let’s check it up by this checklist.
[ ] You work in front of a computer for more than 6 hours a day.
[ ] You tend to bend your back frontward or not lean your back against the backrest of the chair.
[ ] You have to look fixedly at the screen all the time.
[ ] You feel the pain in your neck, shoulders, shoulder blades, and back.
[ ] You feel the stiffness when turning your back or putting your arms up.
[ ] You regularly have migraine while working.
[ ] You have dry or sore eyes.
[ ] You have the pain in your back after working for a long period.
[ ] You feel the numbness in your arms, legs, or fingers.
[ ] The soreness won’t decrease unless you take medicine or get a massage.
If you have 1 or 2 items from the checklist above, you are at risk of having Office Syndrome. Another way to check your body is to lean close to the wall by having the back of your head and heels attached to the wall. Next, extend your arm by putting your hands upside down and try to raise your arms up till the back of your hands are touched. If you can do it easily or your arms can be up at an angle more than 60-90 degrees from the floor, you’re doing great. If you can raise your arms up at an angle only 60-45 degrees from the floor, you are in phases 1-2 of having frozen shoulders which I recommend you to take care of your body immediately. More importantly, if you can raise your arms up less at an angle of 45 degrees from the floor, you are in phase 3 which is very serious. I recommend you to seek help from doctors or physical therapists.
What phase are you in? I consider myself in a normal state. The question is what can we do if we have Office Syndrome symptoms. Let’s start with the office equipment we’re using.
Firstly, the computer. Try setting the computer to the level that you don’t have to bend or look up so that you don’t need to tense your neck much. The keyboard should be right in front of you so you don’t have to twist your body when you type. Set everything into the most comfortable position for your neck muscles to avoid Herniated disc. The top of the computer screen should be at eye level and the screen should be 1 foot away from your eyes so you can read more easily. The mouse should be fit for your arm position when you work. For laptops or computer notebooks, it might be a bit hard to adjust your posture, but at least try not to bend upfront or bend down, and try to keep your neck straight.
Secondly, desk and chair. The seat or cushion of the chair should be lower than the knee level. Try sitting on the chair and putting your feet on the floor, your knees should make 90 degrees angle to the floor so the spine and pelvis can bear the weight appropriately, or else you might get the pain from the back down to your legs. Next, try adjusting the backrest to bear the weight from your lower back. If you cannot adjust the backrest, try using the pillow to support your back in order to help your back be less tensed. Moreover, if you can, try adjusting the armrests to the level that your elbows and shoulders feel relaxed.
For those who already have the symptoms, let me introduce you to stretching.
1. Stretch your neck muscles by sitting straight, and bending your chin toward your neck for 10 seconds.
2. Use your right hand, slowly tilt your head to the right side, and try touching your ear to your right shoulder for 10 seconds.
3. Tilt your chin up to the ceiling for 10 seconds.
4. Use your left hand, slowly tilt your head to the left side, and try touching your ear to your left shoulder for 10 seconds.
5. After finishing a set, move your neck slowly from bending down to the right side. Then tilt up to the ceiling to the right side, and tilt your chin down, back to the first position. After that, you can start over from another side.
6. Next, stretch your shoulder by stretching to the front for 10 seconds.
7. Stretch upward for 10 seconds.
8. Stretch backward for 10 seconds.
9. Stretch upward, then lean to the left side for 10 seconds.
10. Stretch upward, then lean to the right side for 10 seconds.
11. We finished the upper body stretching, now, cross your right leg and bend over, using your navel as the center. Stay for 10 seconds.
12. Cross your left leg and bend over, using your navel as the center. Stay for 10 seconds.
These steps could help you feel better. More importantly, when you work for a very long period, try standing up and stretching, or changing your posture. Sitting in the same posture for too long is bad for your bones and muscles. It could create lactic acid in your muscle and lead to Muscle Adhesion. In the long run, it may lead to Herniated Disc which could affect your overall health. Furthermore, psychical stress can affect your mental health. If you feel stress, please feel free to use our counseling service.