After a long day of work and errands, is your head pounding? While a headache can definitely be brought on by overwork, stress, and worry, there is another significant culprit – poor posture. Poor posture can be a result of poor work-station ergonomics. Changing your work-station can improve your posture, and can not not only reduce headaches, but can also significantly improve overall health.
The low chair you sit in at your desk, high-sitting computer screen, and the way you hold the telephone between your shoulder and your ear, are all little things that can contribute to a thumping headache. These poor work-station ergonomics can put significant strain on our neck, shoulders, and upper back. This can lead to muscle tightness, fatigue, and a pounding headache.
Muscle tension and tightness are very significant contributors to headaches.
However, we often do not factor in poor work-station ergonomics into the cause of our headache. As such, examine or imagine some of your office arrangements, and answer these questions:
- Is the office chair you sit in an adequate height? Do you have to scrunch your shoulders up because the desk’s too high, or slouch over it if it’s too low?
- When sitting with your back straight, does your computer screen sit level with your eyes or do you have to strain your neck up or down to look at it? Is the computer screen too far away, causing your upper back to arch over and your chin-poke out to get a better read?
- When holding the telephone, do you scrunch up your shoulder to your neck to hold the telephone at your ear? Does the short cord pull your neck and shoulder over and towards the phone?
- Is your keyboard set too close or too far away from your arms?
- Does your mouse have a mouse pad, and does it have the appropriate wrist support?
Neck, shoulder, and upper back tightness are significant contributors to headaches. Other things to consider are,
- Are you constantly looking up or over at a calendar or vital piece of information, fatiguing the same muscles in your neck, shoulders, and upper back over and over?
- Are you constantly turning around or swiveling to attend to clients?
- Do you have to constantly overextend to reach the telephone, printer, or filing drawer?
- Are you constantly looking down at your phone or tablet?
- Do you get up to stretch and loosen up every so often or do you sit in your office chair so long you that begin to slouch over from muscle fatigue?
If you’re nodding and shaking your head at the answers to some of these questions, consider making some improvements to your office arrangements and office routine.
For starters, make sure you’re abiding by the 90 degree rule:
The ankle, knee, hip and elbow joints should be as close to 90 degree angles as possible when sitting in a proper ergonomic position.
To achieve this, adjust your work station such that your chair is the correct height, your back is straight when you sit up, your elbows rest comfortably on your desk, and your eyes sit level with the computer screen.
Also try to adjust any calendar, drawer, printer, and any other commonly sought after tool or device so that it’s not forcing you to repeatedly overextend.
Poor posture can lead to muscle tightness, fatigue, imbalances, and headaches. If you want more tips on how to improve your workstation to alleviate poor posture, consider consulting an Occupational Therapist. Occupational Therapists can provide either large group ergonomic seminars or individual ergo recommendations.