Self-care and posture awareness may help reduce the overall stress on your neck, shoulders or spine. When your job demands that you sit for prolonged periods of time, it is important to understand what is and what is not under your control.
UCLA Health breaks down a few important guidelines to help make your work area as comfortable as possible.
Measurements and levels
You can help reduce the amount of stress on your spine by making sure that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Adjusting your chair up or down may help give you that space. If your chair causes your thighs or calves to press in against the material, you may want to prop up your feet or adjust your lumbar support.
Keeping your eyes level with your computer screen keeps you from tilting your neck awkwardly for long periods of time.
Repetitive use and trauma
While this may help keep you comfortable, it is important to remember that prolonged, static posture is not good for your back. Standing and stretching may also help alleviate stress.
Despite these steps, your own discipline only does so much if your workplace ergonomics risk damage to your spinal discs. When this goes on too long, you may suffer a repetitive stress injury. These may cause significant pain and, if severe enough, even temporary disability.
Some employers may claim that your own poor posture is at fault, as opposed to any factors they have control over. However, in California, there are ways of proving that you did your best to remain healthy and that your injury merits a workers’ compensation claim.