If you spend the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer, you may have experienced the tell-tale signs of postural strain – colloquially known as student or office worker syndrome. Back pain, shoulder pain and a sore neck can all be indicators of spending too much time hunched over a desk.
In honour of World Spine Day on Oct. 16, Saanich chiropractor Mark Strudwick sat down to discuss spine health.
Strudwick, who has been practicing in Greater Victoria since 1998, sees folks with postural strain all the time. It started with government employees and now it’s folks from all professions and of varying ages, he noted.
Sitting in a hunched position while working on a laptop or desktop for prolonged periods of time can result in pain in various parts of the spine as the neck and shoulder muscles curve. Studies show that almost half of office workers experience neck pain caused by poor posture at some point. Looking up can compensate for this as it straightens the neck and back, Strudwick explained, so moving your monitor to eye level is beneficial.
Strudwick also recommends sitting upright with the arm, knee and hip joints at 90 degrees. Standing desks can be a good solution for back pain too, he noted.
While sitting ergonomically at work can relieve postural stress, it’s best to avoid working on a computer for any longer than you need to, so Strudwick suggests staying off computers outside of work hours if possible.
The theme for World Spine Day 2019 is “Get spine active!” Folks are encouraged to think of their spines and find ways manage back and neck pain – it can be as simple as taking a stretch break every 20 to 30 minutes at work, going for a walk or seeing a chiropractor, said Strudwick.