Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Article # 427. Tips to prevent Back Pain and Joint Pain

Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time
Sitting at your desk for 8 hours without relief can cause low back pain, neck and upper back pain. Standing for long periods of time without proper footwear and supportive flooring can also cause postural issues which may lead to foot, leg and back pain.
Resolution: Take a walk, get up from your desk and walk to the restroom, refill your water bottle, take a 10 minute walk around the office, get some fresh air, do some light stretching. For standing employees, stretching could be the most beneficial solution. Here are a few to give a try:
• Quadriceps: Stand on one foot while you bend the opposite foot behind, place your hand on your laces or ankle for support.
• Hamstring: Feet should width apart bend at the hips and reach for your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent to prevent injury
• Hip flexor: While standing bring one foot behind you forming a lunge position. Front knee is bent. Curl the tailbone under and press hips forward. Do not let the front knee pass the ankle of the front foot.
• Chest: Open up your arms in a tee position. Press the palm of your hand against a wall for added pressure
• Back: Bring the hands together in front and round the upper back and shoulders
Get outside
Allow yourself to take a break, if possible take 3-4, 10 minute breaks throughout the day. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air, take a short walk, get a coworker to join you. The benefit is not only in getting up and moving around, studies have shown that getting outside and away from the computer may improve work performance and working memory.

Make your office a gym
Utilize your furniture and space around your desk to perform a few simple exercises. This will not only help add some exercise into your day but will keep you alert and ready for whatever the boss throws at you! Here are a few examples of worksite exercises:
• Triceps dips- use the seat of your chair or the edge of your desk to brace yourself. With your body facing away from the desk/chair, hands are shoulder width apart, dip your body down about 6-10 inches, then press back up. Do 15-20 reps, 2 sets
• Pushups- use the wall, or your desk to do standing pushups. You should look as though you are performing a push up only standing.  For increased difficulty step farther away from the wall/desk. Do 15-20 reps, 2 sets
• Lunge- Step one foot out in front, dip down so the your front and back knee form a 90 degree angle, be careful not to allow your front knee to pass over your front ankle. Push back up to standing position, and repeat with the opposite leg. Do 10 reps each side, 2 sets
• Squats- Using your chair as a guide, stand in front of the chair, go to sit down but only squat to about 1-2 inches from the actual seat, then return to standing. Do 10-15 reps, 2 sets
Be your own Ergonomics advisor
Assess your current seated position at your desk, and ask yourself these questions:
• Do I look straight at the computer screen? Adjust your seat or screen height accordingly
• Are your wrists straight and elbows relaxed while typing? Adjust your keyboard and seat height accordingly
• Does the angle of your hips and back average at 90 degrees? Adjust back support and seat height accordingly
• Does your lower back feel supported? Adjust lumbar support. If needed purchase an inexpensive support such as a small pillow to increase lumbar support.
• Are your feet flat on the floor? Adjust seat height accordingly

Be aware of your posture
Avoid slouching, and hunching towards your computer or desk. If writing by hand use a raised surface if you need to be close to the paper. Good posture is important to strengthen your core and back muscles. Incorrect posture can lead to muscle imbalances and/or pain
Plan ahead
Plan your day in advance. What you will eat, when you will take a breather, and when you will exercise.
When you plan in advance what you will eat while at work you are less likely to grab something from canteen or snack shops. Make sure to pack enough food. Include some fruit, veggies, and whole grains. Example- Cooked carrots, broccoli, brown rice, and fresh salads/Greens. For desert, try fresh strawberries, Plums, Red grapes & other berries if feasible like blueberries, cranberries and black berries.
Plan when you will exercise. Pack a gym bag the night before so that you have your mind set on exercising either before, during, or after work.
Put a few breaks on your schedule so that you actually take them. When you get into a groove at work you may forget. Set a reminder to alert you.
Get some rest
According to Harvard Women’s Health, adequate sleep affects the following: Learning and memory, metabolism and weight, safety (risk of falling), mood, cardiovascular health, and disease prevention. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours/night. To reap the most benefit from the hours slept the additional recommendation is to keep a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking at the same time most days of the week.
Get the stress out
Stress can cause many symptoms, such as: headaches, low productivity/concentration, nervousness, chest pain, hair loss, sleep problems, fatigue, body aches, anger and depression. To reduce the stress in your life, don’t try to pin point the stressor, first just try to give yourself 10 minutes a day of stress free time. Try a deep breathing exercise, listen to a mental imagery CD, sit outside and enjoy the sounds of nature, or try meditation. As you become more comfortable with this exercise try to increase your time in peace and incorporate positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions into your everyday routine.
Join or start a group activity/Get involved with the community
If your place of employment offers a gym or group classes, get involved. If not, why not start one.
Examples: volunteer, start a running/walking/biking/swimming/yoga/Pilates group or class, book club, bible study, etc.  A sense of involvement and community connection really can make a big difference.
It’s all about the balance!
It’s not about being perfect: eating healthy every meal every day, exercising every day, meditating, sleeping enough, being involved, etc. It’s ALL about BALANCE! Wellness involves emotional, environmental, physical, occupational, social, intellectual, and spiritual endeavors. It’s the attempt to allow yourself to make mistakes, and enjoy the journey that creates balance in one’s life.


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