Why workplace posture is a pain in the neck – and how employers can help

Guest blog by Mario P., CEO, Neckstar

Neck pain – we’ve all been there. After a long day at the office glaring at a computer screen, we all feel stiff and ready for a good relax. But there’s much more to the story than simply feeling like you need a good stretch to loosen up. All this sitting at desk for eight hours a day can actually be detrimental to our health and wellbeing – and even cause irreversible damage. And as much as you may think it’s down to individuals to keep themselves injury-free, more emphasis is being put on businesses to take the lead and look at how they can ensure their workers are safe at work.

 

According to the British Chiropractic Association, most people will suffer one or more episodes of neck pain during their lifetime. Categorised as an uncomfortable pain that can be felt in one or both sides of the neck, in the base of the skull, and into the shoulders, it can either be a dull pain that lingers for days or a sharp pain that comes and goes over a period of time. Often felt at the end of a long working day, it’s estimated that neck pain (along with low back pain) is a progressively widespread and expensive condition that now costs the US $88bn every year – the third highest bill for any health condition. In the UK, a similar story paints itself; according to the Work Foundation, a third of all long-term sickness absence from work, and nearly a fifth of any sick leave, is caused by musculoskeletal disorders. So it’s important that whatever type of pain people suffer from, they don’t leave it for too long as this could have negative effects on the body in the long term – and this is exactly why the focus has shifted from it being an individual’s problem to a business-wide issue.

 

Here’s some of the things employers can do about the issue:

 

Ensure work desks meet guidelines

One of the biggest culprits of neck problems is bad posture. When we worked outside this didn’t really affect us, but new we’re very desk-driven, bad posture can affect many areas of our bodies. With this in mind, it’s down to companies – and of course their HR departments – to every worker has the right conditions for working.

Desks for example should be set out so that the workers’ eyes point directly at the top of the screen, forearms are parallel with the floor when typing, elbows are at the side, the back is straight and parallel with the computer screen, and feet are flat to the floor with thighs also parallel with the desk and floor.

 

Invest in quality chairs

You’d be surprised at how many workplaces do not equip their staff with the correct chairs for the job in hand. Those who sit at desks must ensure that their workers all have correct office chairs that offer just the right about of support at all times.

 

Ensure regular breaks are taken

We all know what taking regular breaks can do for productivity, but it’s also good for the body. As well as giving the eyes a well-deserved rest, moving around a few times a day can really help to stretch out the muscles and ensure that the weight of the head isn’t putting stress on the neck throughout the day.

 

Sharing best-practice

As mentioned above, the emphasis is now on businesses to do all they can to help ensure their staff are kept away from harm and injury as a result of their jobs. And the best way to do this – aside from offering them all the physical support in terms of equipment to guarantee they are comfortable and in the advised positions – is to communicate and share best-practice.

 

Keeping processes fresh

Regular training with both staff and managers keeps these tips fresh in people’s minds – and of course keep workers free from injury.

 

Cut down on sick days

With sick days costing UK employers £9bn a year, anything businesses can do to cut down on the number of sick days will only prove to be a positive move for them and their employees alike.

Happy employees equal a more productive and profitable workplace. And if they feel valued, safe, and comfortable (yes literally) in their job, you’ll find you have a lower staff turnover and as more productive workplace.

 

About the author

Mario P. knows first hand how painful a stiff neck can be, having had a long history of spine and neck problems that nothing appeared to cure.

He noticed that the only relief he felt was when sat in a forward position with his head facing a desk.

He realised this was a problem experienced by many other people so he created the NeckStar portable posture corrector, which he says brought instant relief from the aches and pains associated with chronic neck pain.

As well as helping relieve pain, it has also proven to be a great preventative application, and as a result, has been endorsed by doctors and physiotherapists.

Author: Editorial Team

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