Back pain, visual fatigue, muscle tension: avoid office ailments!

back pain

Back pain, visual fatigue, muscle tension: avoid office aches! Between car or public transport journeys, meals, TV evenings, and office work, we spend 80% of our waking time…sitting! This daily sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to our health and causes back pain, muscle tension, and, adding screens, visual fatigue. This pain can become disabling and in the long term trigger musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It is therefore very important to know and adopt the right reflexes and good postures in the office.

Rule number 1: adjust your workstation

To avoid back pain and visual fatigue, you must start by properly adjusting your workstation. For this, we must consider these criteria:

The height of the desk
You must be able to lay your forearms flat on your workspace, shoulders low, back straight but not arched.

The office
chair Your chair should allow you to have both feet flat on the ground, thighs parallel to the ground. Otherwise use a footrest. Armrests are necessary to support the weight of the arms, and shoulders relaxed. The seat is the most important element to avoid back pain and muscle tension. The ideal is therefore to invest in an ergonomic seat.

The keyboard and the mouse
You must place your keyboard on your desk so that there are about ten centimeters between the edge of the desk and the space bar of the keyboard. As for the mouse, it must be close to the keyboard and allow the hand to remain in line with the shoulder. Use a wrist rest if needed.

The screen
The top of your screen should be at eye level, facing you, so as not to twist your neck. The eye-screen distance to be respected is between 50 and 70 cm.

Lighting To limit visual fatigue, apply a slightly bluish background to your text documents. Also, install a blue light filter on your computer. Also, place desk lamp-type lighting behind your screen.

Rule number 2: monitor your posture regularly


Once your workstation is properly adjusted, protect yourself from back pain and muscle tension by adopting the correct posture. To be properly installed at your desk, you must first have the arm-forearm angle positioned between 90° and 135°. Then your right hand (or your left hand if you are left-handed) should follow the extension of your forearm. Your shoulders should be relaxed, away from your ears, your elbows close to your body, and your wrists flexible. These should not rest continuously on the desk or on the keyboard.

Finally, you should keep your thighs parallel to the ground, and your feet flat. To reduce the risk of visual fatigue, regularly take your eyes off your screen and look into the distance. You can first fix a close point in the room, then far away, by a window for example.

You can also consult a physiotherapist for stretching or postural advice.

Rule number 3: take breaks to relax the whole body

The best way to avoid visual fatigue, back pain, and muscle tension is to take breaks. These breaks must be done in full consciousness, listening to all the manifestations of the body and the mind. As soon as you feel tension, tingling in the back or legs, heaviness or stiffness, take a break. Walk for a minute or reposition yourself, lower back against the chair, long neck. Make movements of the arms, and the shoulders, and relax the whole upper body. Stretch. Stay mobile: strictly speaking, there is no ideal posture if it is maintained permanently. Also, watch that your shoulders are never raised or tense.

If your eyes are dry or starting to sting, blink several times in a row to moisten them. If necessary, get a prescription for artificial tears.

The mental side, this one plays on the muscular tensions, be attentive to the signs of nervousness and drop in concentration. Breathe deeply. Take a 5-minute Heart Coherence break three times a day. Put plants on your workspace: plants are proven to help relaxation and concentration and reduce stress and tension.

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