E4 Body Clinic


Computer/Desk jobs causing back pain

Computers have now taken over our lives and have made work and communication so much easier and more efficient than ever before BUT the downside to this are the side effects that come with us spending large parts of our days sitting working at the computer desk.

Most of us spend nearly all day sitting working behind a desk (some people do not even leave our desks to eat lunch) but as well as sitting at work, we also sit in the car or on the train during the commute to and from work, then we sit down to eat dinner when we get home, and then we sit on the sofa to watch TV before bed. Now that’s an awful lot of sitting every day!

We as humans are not designed to sit down for very long periods at a time. Prolonged sitting alters our body’s posture and eventually we become accustomed to it and start to naturally adapt to the bad positions we sit in. Even with the ideal desk/pc set up, the reason why back pain occurs while doing jobs that require us to sit for long periods is because after sitting for a while people start to slouch and lean subconsciously and bend towards the computer while working.

This causes a reaction of the body where the anterior muscles of the hips and thighs start to shorten, which causes low back pain around the lumbar and sacral regions and also a curvature change of the spine which can then lead to a sacro-iliac separation and also tightness in the latismus dorsi and piriformis muscles. This reaction can then cause sciatica and numbness down the legs where the muscles constantly pinch the sciatic nerve.

Computer work unfortunately encourages us to hold our arms up and forward to use the keyboard and mouse, and to lean our head forward to read the screen. As a direct result of this our chest muscles contract and after long periods start to become naturally tight which means the shoulders are constantly pulled forward, causing the trapezius muscles to become tight and blood stagnation to occur. This in turn causes pain in the back shoulders and neck, headaches, dizziness, pins and needles down the arms and hands and possibly numbness as well.

Desk Job Back PainUnfortunately it is impossible to maintain perfect posture at our desks for hours at a time because we subconsciously become uncomfortable and start to lean and slouch in different angles and positions but there are certain measures that we can take to help prevent the bad side effects from working at desks and to help prevent the build up of tension and tightness in muscles and to keep our body straight and balanced, instead of being constantly positioned at an angle.

These include giving ourselves a small rest from sitting in the same position for hours at a time. It is strongly advised that we should frequently get up, walk around and stretch out, however this is obviously very impractical and time consuming whilst at work and therefore not really possible. Therefore, regular exercise outside of work such as walking, swimming (front crawl and backstroke) and yoga are great ways to help prevent tension build up to some degree by loosing muscles, increasing blood circulation and to help keep our muscles supple and our skeletal system straight and in balance.

Unfortunately it is inevitable that eventually we will need some treatment therapy, such as acupuncture, TuiNa, cupping, massage and hot stone massage to help relieve the side effects from our jobs such as pain, tension and stress caused from our jobs and to also correct the muscular skeletal imbalance that the body has become accustomed to from us sitting down in bad positions at a desk, for hours every single day.

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