Being seated for hours can take a greater toll on your body than you think. If your job requires you to be seated at a desk, you may be at risk of gradually developing a musculoskeletal disorder.
That's because, according to EHS Today, prolonged sitting can cause the supporting muscles to weaken over time — placing unnecessary pressure on the discs in your back.
As a result, you may experience pain in your back, neck, and shoulders. In addition, you may experience limited mobility, inflammation, and tension that radiates throughout the body. This can damage your spine, muscles, and joints.
According to a study conducted by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, back pain is a common problem in many workplaces. Researchers in the study surveyed several employees and found that 63.5 percent of female respondents and 39.7 percent of male respondents experienced neck and shoulder pain due to the conditions of their job. Lower back pain was the most prevalent, affecting 51.4 percent of women and 44 percent of men.
Musculoskeletal disorder facts and risk factors
According to Healthline, musculoskeletal disorders often include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Bone fractures
The most common risk factors for developing a musculoskeletal disorder include:
- Family history
- Lifestyle or activity level
- Being seated for long periods of time
- Performing repetitive movements
- Lifting heavy weights
- Not maintaining proper posture
Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in office settings
In order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders from developing, it's important to exercise and stretch routinely. Maintaining a tall posture is key to preventing back pain and putting less pressure on your spine.
Employers can help employees in office settings by taking workplace ergonomics into account. This is a method of arranging workplaces to maximize safety and efficiency. Not only does providing chairs and work stations that promote healthy posture prevent job-related injuries, it also increases productivity. Malte Lenkeith, an ergonomics consultant at the German office furniture manufacturer Dauphin, explains.
“Office chairs should keep the vertebral column in its natural double-S shape and support an upright position – by an automatic inclination of the upper part of the chair and a permanent counter pressure produced by the backrest in the process," he said.
The effects of poor workplace ergonomics may not be immediately noticeable. What starts out as minor low back pain can turn into something that may require lengthy -- and costly -- medical treatment.
If the conditions of your job are causing your pain, you may need to take some time off to recover. If you're worried about the cost of treatment and lost wages, a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney at McLaughlin & Sanchez can help you explore your legal options.
Contact us online today to learn how you can maximize your workers' compensation benefits.