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Aches and Pains in the Office? Don’t Just Sit There!

As technology advances in the 21st century, more and more physical labour force

is being replaced by robots and AI software. There is an increased number of

office workers in the current job market. Based on Deloitte Access Economics

forecasts, the number of office workers is projected to increase by 637,400 to 5.1

million people through to 2026.

Emma the hunchback is a life-size doll created as a warning to highlight the

current work environment. The Work Colleague of the Future report has revealed

that over 90% of UK office workers suffer from work-related health issues with

marked reduction in productivity.

Figure 1. Emma the hunchback has a permanently bent back from sitting down

for hours with bad posture, varicose veins caused by poor blood flow, and dry

and red eyes from staring at the computer screen for hours.

What is happening to our bodies?

As we are becoming less physically active in our day jobs, our human bodies

adapt over time. This is based on the principle of “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. This means we will begin to lose our joint mobility, shortening of muscles and deconditioned tendons. These changes can start to cause imbalances in the musculoskeletal system where aches and pains may start to settle in.

Another physiological changes that take place in our human bodies is called

ischemia. Ischemic changes describe poor circulation to a particular body part,

where lack of blood and oxygen to the soft tissues become sensitive to pressure

and eventually become painful. This is also known as the pressure sore.

However, ischemia is usually reversible and only temporary unless you are fully

bed-ridden or immobilised. Imagine sitting on your bottom for 6-8 hours straight without shifting or moving into a different position, no wonder you are sore!

Have a glance at our Instagram video on what a best sitting posture is for lower

back pain.

What can I do about it?

In order to combat this office-ridden disease, we need to be proactive with our

approach. This means having an ergonomic assessment done on your

workstation, implement regular breaks to get up on your feet and even perform

gentle stretches every 1-2 hours. Some companies actually set aside break time

to allow officer workers to implement stretches or gentle exercises to improve


There are two key things we must address in order to achieve the best posture.

1. Spinal mobility – how much flexibility is available in your spine in order to

remain in a neutral position (a position with the least stress and strain).

2. Postural muscle strength –adequate muscle strength and endurance is

vital in maintaining a good posture. Having excellent spinal mobility but

not being able to maintain neutral position due to muscle weakness may

be one of the reasons behind recurrent aches and pain.

We have posted a quick video on how to achieve a good spinal mobility and

postural strength on our Instagram!

If you are an officer worker and experiences aches and pains, just remember that you can be pain-free with just a few small adjustments!

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