Beating the Aches and Pains of Workplace Stress


A good workout can leave you mighty sore, but in the end, most will agree that the feelings of accomplishment and exhilaration are well worth it!   There is another type of stress, the kind that beats you down, and you know where I’m going here. A tough day at work, whether you are working from home or at an office can leave you with a stiff neck, lower back pain, headaches, sore wrists, and worse.  


Many guys complain of a stiff neck and sore shoulders by quitting time. The reality is that your head weighs 10 to 12 pounds and supporting that weight for hours is bound to strain your neck and shoulders. Here’s what you can do. 


Adjust the back of your chair so that it supports your spine and scoot your butt as far back as possible. Sit up, straighten your shoulders, pull your chin back and that will keep your head and spine in line. 


Keep essentials close by. Straining to reach your “stuff” can cause shoulder soreness and even rotator cuff tears. Phones, fax machines and keyboards should be within convenient reach for you. 


Don’t type while you’re on the phone. Flexing your head against your shoulder to hold the phone pinches the primary blood flow to the arm and the brain. The best fix here is to use a headset. But if it’s not in your budget, when the phone rings, pretend that it is 1968 and take notes with a pen and paper. This will give your wrists and fingers a break from the keyboard.


Try setting your computer screen a little lower. Your neck was built to bend slightly downward. Keep your monitor low enough by placing it on the desktop, not on top of the computer’s central unit or other type of riser. 


Many guys suffer with low back pain. Sitting at work for hours may take the load off your feet, but it increases the pressure on your spine by 30%. Here’s what you can do. 


First, never stay in one position too long. Move around. Constantly changing position helps the disks in your spine retain more fluid and that keeps your back more pliable. 


Second, loosen your ham strings. Prolonged sitting can tighten your hamstrings which can strain the muscles of your lower back. Here is a stretch you can do. Sit on the floor with your left leg extended in front of you and bend the right leg so your right foot touches your right knee (Your legs will form a figure four). Bend forward at your waist to stretch your left hamstring and hold the stretch for ten seconds. Repeat this stretch with your other leg. Stretch daily. 


Third, ditch the cheap chair. An office chair should have an adjustable height and a tilting back rest. Adjusting the chair is simple. You should be able to keep your spine straight and your knees and elbows bent at 90 degrees as you rest your feet flat on the floor.