With the advent of technology, more jobs can be done on a computer. This means many people with a desk job are spending more hours in a day seated continuously. While it seems this kind of job is easier, there are some health risks to it.
If you spend your nine to five seated on an office chair, you might have noticed some aches and pains. While some of the health risks could be felt immediately, some aren’t as noticeable. To better take care of yourself, here are some related health risks, and how you can deal with them.
1. Back Pain And Bad Posture
One of the most common things to look out for is back pain. Perhaps it might start with poor posture, like slouching over or protruding your head and neck forward. Eventually, poor posture will lead to all kinds of back pain, spinal conditions, or injuries.
If you’re currently suffering from back pain, or worried about developing poor posture, you could try some desk stretches for your shoulders and the rest of your back. It would also help to get an ergonomic office chair that gives you full back support.
2. Exposure To Bacteria And Viruses
When working in an office, you’ll be sharing the space with other employees. And depending on how well ventilated the place is, it could cause workers to be exposed to all kinds of bacteria and viruses.
To keep yourself from getting sick, taking vitamins to boost your immunity would be helpful. Staying hydrated, keeping your desk space clean, and sanitizing your hands regularly could help protect your health. And to keep spreading any bacteria and viruses in the workspace, it’s best to stay home when you’re feeling under the weather.
3. Eye Problems
Next up is the possibility of ruining your eyesight, primarily if you work in front of a computer without any eye protection. Here are some signs your vision might be worsening:
- Your vision is getting blurry
- Your eyes are watering
- Your eyes feel dry
- You’re suffering from headaches
- Your eyes are twitching
- You’re sensitive to bright lights
- You have difficulties focusing your vision
It’s best to get your eyes checked regularly to find out if your vision is declining. You could also ask about eyewear that can help protect your eyes from computer screens, TVs, and smartphones.
While you’re at work, you could also take breaks every hour so you can rest your eyes. Adjusting your screen brightness, as well as the angle of the lighting in your desk space, can help you avoid intensely glaring lights. Cleaning your screen could also help you see the monitor better and avoid blurry spots.
Another thing you could do is position the angles of your desk, monitor, and office chair so you could have an ergonomic office setup. This way, everything in your workspace could be customized to your body (e.g., height) and personal needs (e.g., level of screen brightness your eyes can tolerate).
4. Inactive Lifestyle
Another problem you could expect from working in front of your desk is an inactive lifestyle. If you spend eight hours a day seated, you might not be getting enough exercise and physical activities. This means your body could weaken, and you could start gaining weight.
One way to combat this is to set some time to work out, whether at home, in a gym, or in the park. When you get off work, it might be a good idea to avoid doing the same thing, like spending hours on your phone or watching TV.
5. Mental Exhaustion
Mental health is important to remember, especially if you feel stressed. It’s been said that not getting enough physical activity could contribute to poor mental health. Therefore, working a desk job might be the combination that could cause mental exhaustion.
When you’re unable to cope, it’s possible to develop mental health problems. Going to therapy is one of the best ways anyone can do to balance stress and mental struggles. Eating well, working out, and getting enough rest would also be helpful.
Other things you can do are:
- Take breaks when you need it
- Have time for yourself
- Try meditation
- Look for other mental health solutions
6. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Another problem you might expect from working a desk job is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Your arm might feel numb, tingly, or weak because these are some of the symptoms. But the cause is said to be pressure on the median nerve, which is a nerve that extends through your forearm, wrist, and hand.
When you’re working, you rely on moving your hand to do your tasks on a computer. This exerts pressure on the nerve, and it could cause or flare up nerve damage. It’s said that the risks increase in a colder environment, like an airconditioned office. Use of your keyboard and mouse are also linked to increasing the possibility of CTS.
To help prevent this, there are some things you might be more mindful of when completing your tasks. One of them is to relax your arms and hands while working. If you notice that your hand tenses up when you’re typing, you could shake your hands and arms to relax them. It’s also a good idea to take breaks so you don’t exert too much pressure on your median nerve continuously. You can keep the office space warm, or use some hand warmers.
As for your workspace, you could change some of your devices and adjust your furniture so it’s more comfortable for your arms. Looking for a more comfortable mouse might also help your hand become more relaxed as you do your tasks. But even with better equipment, it’s helpful to be mindful of your posture and how you position yourself against your desk. Listening to your body and not ignoring signs would be a good practice to have.
There are all kinds of problems that can stem from desk jobs because of the environment and stress involved. Because of discomfort, inactivity, and exposure to screens for hours on end, you might end up with back pain, eye problems, weight gain, wrist pain, and mental exhaustion. There are other health problems you could develop. It’s essential to spot any problems early on by listening and observing your body and getting regular checkups.