What is Office Syndrome?
If you live in a big city and work in an office environment, chances are you may suffer from Office Syndrome even though you may not know it.
Office Syndrome is not a disease but instead refers to a group of symptoms related to the unhealthy sitting posture. The typical office worker spends hours upon hours sitting in the same position, toiling away in front of computer screens.
At first glance, one may not think much about such a lifestyle, but if left unaddressed, Office Syndrome can potentially lead to serious issues, especially for one’s muscles and spine.
What is the Cause of Office Syndrome
A poor working environment is a major cause of Office Syndrome. Inadequate table height and positioning of the computer and keyboard leads to an unnatural sitting position. Slouching or hunching over with rounded shoulders causes constant muscle contraction, gradually resulting in weak core muscles and increased tension in other muscle groups.
Dry eyes and headache can also result from long hours facing computer screens. Psychological symptoms such as depression, insomnia and fatigue may occur as well. All these also fall under the spectrum of Office Syndrome.
What are the Symptoms?
- Back, neck, shoulder pain and knee pain
- Numbness of fingers, arms and feet
- Muscle ache
- Tendonitis such as De Quervain’s tenosynovitis and Tennis elbow
- Dry eyes
What are the Treatments?
If you suspect that you are having symptoms related to Office Syndrome, speak to your doctor about it. Based on the symptoms as described above, investigations such as X-ray, ultrasound scan or blood tests may be recommended.
The treatment essentially depends on the symptoms and body part that is of concern, and commonly involves medications, physiotherapy and alternative therapies such as acupuncture.
However, as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, it is much easier to take measures to prevent Office Syndrome rather than have to deal with the problems when they develop.
Office work does not equal Office Syndrome!
How to Avoid Office Syndrome!
Not everyone who works in an office is destined to develop Office Syndrome. All that is required are some adjustments to the workplace and the development of good habits, and Office Syndrome can be easily avoided.
1) Practice proper posture.
Practice proper posture. Sit up straight with your shoulders rolled back and your chin tucked to elongate your spine. Good posture is always important, even when not at work.
2) Adjust your sitting position regularly.
Doing so every 1-2 hours helps to prevent muscle fatigue and subsequent slouching. You can also change the angle of your seat, and avoid sitting at the edge of your seat.
3) Try to exercise
Try to exercise for 30 minutes or more, at least three times a week. Focus on exercises that can strengthen your core muscle groups, which in turn can help with your posture.
4) Desk ergonomics.
Desk ergonomics. The computer mouse and keyboard should be directly in front of you, at a comfortable distance, with your arms properly supported. The computer screen should be an arm’s length away from you, and level with or slightly below your line of sight. Standing work desks are great, and nowadays there are even adjustable desks for both sitting and standing.
5) Take a break.
Remember to take a break. Take short breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes. This is also a good time to stretch or take a walking break.
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