I’m a Physiotherapist. Here are my top tips for the Office to avoid Pain

Learn 5 tips for avoiding pain in the office from Shehan Thenuwara, lead physiotherapist at Infinite Podiatry & Physio in Hereford.

In today's digital age, we spend a lot of our day working in office environments (cubicles anyone?). While office work may seem relatively safe compared to physically demanding jobs, it can still take a toll on our bodies if we don't prioritize our well-being. As a Physiotherapist, I've seen firsthand the common pains and injuries that office workers experience. In this blog, I will share some valuable tips to help you prevent pain while working in an office setting.

1. A comfortable workstation is a safe workstation!

Chair: Choose a chair that gives good support for your head (if needed), shoulders and back and allows you to adjust the seat height to your liking.

Desk: Adjust your desk height so that you don’t have to reach too high or too low with your forearms to access your keyboard. Your screen should also be at a comfortable angle.

Keyboard and Mouse: Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse that promote a natural hand and wrist position, reducing the risk of wrist and elbow discomfort.

2. Take regular breaks

Regular breaks are important to long term health and productivity. Make it a habit to take short breaks every 2-3 hours.

  • Stand up, stretch, and walk around your office or hallway.
  • Perform simple exercises like shoulder rolls, neck stretches, and wrist stretches to alleviate tension and improve blood flow.
  • Use this time to rest your eyes by focusing on distant objects or closing them for a few moments.
  • Have a chat with your coworkers for that much needed mental boost.

3. Incorporate regular exercise

Staying active outside of office hours is essential for overall health and reducing the risk of injuries. Consider these exercise options:

  • Aerobic activities like walking, jogging, swimming or cycling to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Strength training exercises to strengthen your core, back, and postural muscles.
  • Mindfulness activities such as yoga or meditation when you are feeling stressed.

4. Mindful Workstation Habits

Certain habits can contribute to musculoskeletal issues over time. Be mindful of the following:

  • Take care when lifting heavy objects, only lifting objects within your capability and seeking assistance if needed.

5. Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet

Proper hydration and nutrition play a vital role in keeping your body healthy and reducing the risk of musculoskeletal problems. Remember:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and help maintain joint lubrication.
  • Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to provide the necessary nutrients for tissue repair and overall well-being.

Now for the elephant in the room: Posture!

Is it necessary to keep your body in a certain “ideal” posture to ensure that you never get into pain? Is slouching or hunching forward bad for you? A lot of us do get into this over the course of our working lives. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about maintaining a certain kind of posture to be healthy at work or anywhere else!

Studies that have looked at workplace posture have found that many people don’t adhere to the commonly accepted “ideal” posture of keeping the spine and neck straight. But many of them do not get into pain while sometime those who do stay in these rigid postures do get pain more often because of how uncomfortable they can get. So, the updated wisdom is, find a posture that is comfortable for you which you can stay in extended periods when you get into the flow of work but move often and change around when you can and that should be enough to stay pain free for the most part including the tips given above!

Remember, your health should be a priority, even in the office. Take proactive measures to create a comfortable workspace, incorporate regular exercise and breaks. By taking care of your body, you'll enhance your productivity, well-being, and overall quality of life.

If you're experiencing persistent pain or discomfort, it's always a good idea to consult a physiotherapist who can provide personalized advice and treatment tailored to your specific needs.

Stay healthy, stay productive, and enjoy your work!

About the Author

Shehan is the Lead Physiotherapist at Infinite Podiatry & Physio, located on St Peter's Street in Hereford. 

He has over 5 years and more than 8500 hours of Clinical Physiotherapy and Exercise Rehabilitation experience.

"I strive to develop a high degree of patient communication, evidence-based treatment and exercise rehabilitation protocol knowledge"

To learn more about Shehan and Infinite Podiatry & Physio, visit their website.