Counteract the Effects of Prolonged Desk Sitting
Contributed by Dr. Michael Venice
For many of us, spending upwards of six to eight hours of each workday sitting at a desk is reality. Though you may not feel the effects immediately, your desk job may be adversely affecting your health in a number of ways, some of which may be fatal. Dr. Michael Venice, a Naprapath at the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern, weighs in on ergonomics, how your desk job can negatively affect your health, and five things you can do to counteract the effects in your busy life.
Ergonomics is the field of study concerning how individuals are physically affected by their work environment in an effort to keep them safe and comfortable, and in turn, increase productivity. For those stuck in the seated position all day, Dr. Venice provides the following five tips to keep you happy, healthy, and on top of your game at the office.
1. Get up!
In order to keep your blood flowing and help prevent the potentially fatal issue of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), get up to stretch and move every 40 minutes. DVT is caused by a blood clot in the muscle and immobility is a major risk factor, putting desk dwellers in danger.
2. Be Conscious of Your Posture
Office chairs may be stiff and uncomfortable, your desk may be awkwardly positioned, or your job may require you to swivel constantly so that you can view multiple screens. Whatever the issue may be, avoid putting too much stress on one area of the body, and remember to turn your whole body (as opposed to twisting) when necessary to face your work.
3. Reassess Your Work Space
Are improper tools causing you pain or preventing you from working to your fullest? Reassess your desk to see if there are elements you can change or improve, including everything from rearranging the layout of your workspace to investing in ergonomic office products.
4. Practice Proper Nutrition
When it comes to a desk job, your schedule generally determines when (and what) you eat, making fast food an all too common choice. Though proper nutrition is always important, it is stressed even more when your work prevents you from being mobile for the majority of the day. Pack a healthy lunch from home to save money, cut calories, and boost your overall health.
5. Don’t Ignore Your Pain
If you’re experiencing pain that just won’t quit, don’t write it off as "part of the job." Dr. Venice treats a number of patients complaining of pain due to poor posture, neck and back pain, and tension headaches as a result of their sedentary desk job, and is able to help them relieve their pain through manipulative medicine.
"Being conscious of your workspace and how it affects your body is much more important than many people realize," says Dr. Venice. "Reassess your space and your habits to see how they can be improved, but don’t ignore your body if pain becomes a regular part of your work day."
About the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern: Founded in 2008, the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern is one of the country’s premier centers for integrative healing, disease treatment/prevention and optimal wellness. Combining the best of science-based Western medicine with natural therapeutic approaches from a variety of ancient cultures, the institute offers an unparalleled experience for patients of all ages. Led by Dr. Theri Griego Raby, the institute offers primary and consultative care by highly trained specialists in Internal Medicine, Integrative Pediatrics and Integrative Gynecology, as well as direct or collaborative care by certified practitioners in the disciplines of Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Medical Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Neuromuscular Massage Therapy, Integrative Psychology, Anti-aging and Functional Medicine. The Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine is located at 500 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago, IL.
For more information, please visit www.rabyintegrativemedicine.com or call (312) 276.1212.