5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Back or Neck Pain at Work

This content is sponsored by Virginia Spine Institute

Myth: Only those who do physical labor ever experience neck or back pain.

Reality:  If you’ve ever left work with a headache, lower back pain, or sore shoulders then you know that’s not the case.

The average working professional spends over 2,000 hours per year in the office — that’s a lot of time spent adapting to a workspace that may not work for you. Simple things like twisting your body into odd positions, placing your feet on the rungs of your chair, and hunching over your computer really take a toll on your neck and low back.


Office workers who sit for long periods of time often do so without a single thought of posture. We’ve all seen a co-worker bent over his or her desk, squinting at the computer screen trying to meet that deadline. Well, imagine the effects on the spine when you’ve been doing this all day. Additionally, sitting for prolonged periods of time places significant stress on the back and neck.

“Office workers that sit for several hours at a time are unintentionally increasing stress on their back muscles and spinal discs,” explains Dr. Colin Haines, Spine Surgeon at Virginia Spine Institute. “That could be why you’re experiencing headaches, muscle knots all throughout your shoulders, and lower back pain.”


Experts have developed a solution for this occupational hazard called workplace ergonomics. This practical trend blends the workstation with the worker leading to increased health and productivity and decreasing the risk of nagging neck or lower back pain. Need more convincing? Nearly one-third of all missed work days are caused by pain associated with poor workplace ergonomics. Save your vacation days for the beach and optimize your space today! Here’s how…


1. Adjust your Chair –

The seat height should adjust so that the entire thigh is supported when you sit upright. Ideally your feet should sit with the soles flat on the floor and your knees and hips at a 90 degree angle

2. Utilize Lumbar Support –

Your chair should have some sort of lumbar support, whether it’s a pillow you bring from home or a lumbar cushion you purchase. It should be placed in the small of the back.

3.Support Your Feet  –

Most back specialists agree that it is best to have your knees raised above your hips to relieve pressure on your lower back. At your desk, try a mobile foot support that can slide around as you shift your weight.

4. Reposition Your Computer Monitor –

The top of the monitor should be slightly below eye gaze with the center of the monitor about 15-20 degrees below eye level. Hold your arm straight out in front of you with your wrist pulled up as if you’re signaling for someone to stop – that’s how far the monitor should be from your chair. Finally, adjust the monitor for glares to limit strain on the eyes.

5.Properly Arrange Your Keyboard and Mouse –

The keyboard and mouse should be placed in an area that allows your arms to relax by your side at a 90 degree angle. Wrists should be kept in a neutral position by placing a gel cushion in front of the keyboard and mouse. This decreases pressure on the carpal tunnel.

If you are still experiencing neck or back pain after making these adjustments, be sure to see a specialist to get to the root of that nagging discomfort. Don’t delay! Click here to schedule or call us today at 703.709.1114.

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