Sitting at a desk all day can be hazardous to your health. Back pain, eyestrain and sleep problems can all be results of increasingly sedentary yet stressful work environments.
The number of physically demanding jobs has dropped to less than 10% from 20% in the 1950s, according a study published by economic and social policy researchers at the Urban Institute, meaning the number of jobs that require some exertion were cut in half, leaving more Americans susceptible to desk-job-related health problems.
Here are six office-related maladies and how they can be prevented.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Problem: Any motion that is repeated over and over again can cause injury or pain, according to occupational-health-focused Denver Chiropractor Dr. T. Randall Eldridge. But carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t just pain or soreness from too much typing. It’s the tingling, numbness, itching or even sharp pain caused when a nerve that runs through the forearm is compressed by swollen ligaments and bones in the wrist, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Prevention: Before you’re forced to treat carpal tunnel with acupuncture, drugs or even surgery, stretching and other exercises may help release tension in the wrist, the NIH says. And, contrary to what many believe, your wrists shouldn’t actually rest on those cushy wrist pads that sit below your keyboard or mouse pad. They should actually be used as a guide for how high your wrists should be, according to occupational therapist to Marji Hajic. Hajic says hands should hover over the wrist rest and it should only be used as a rest in between bouts of typing.