What to do when work is the source of your aches and pains

Man working with a computer and a warm compress around the neck

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the initial coronavirus lockdowns, most people who have the ability to work remotely are still working from home. Even though many parts of “normal life” have returned, Covid-19 has kept millions of workers in their home offices, disrupting typical workday routines and making video calls the norm. For some, this break from office life has been extremely difficult. Finding the motivation to stay on task and focus during working hours without the structure of being in the office can be a challenge. Because lines have become blurred between work hours and leisure time, many people are working longer hours, resulting in aches and pains that can be tricky to treat. 

Examples of work-related pain include neck pain, hip and back pain, repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome in the hands, or stress on the knees or shoulders from repeated motion. Work-related pain has many diverse sources, and you should always discuss your personal situation and symptoms with your doctor before attempting to alleviate or treat chronic pain on your own. 

Ways of managing pain at work

There are many ways to treat work-related pain. Of course, the first step should be to make sure you eliminate all factors that could be causing you continued physical stress. Make sure to lift with your knees rather than your back, and try to avoid carrying heavy objects above your head. Align your workspace so that your hands and wrists are able to move comfortably on the keyboard. This might include using modified computer accessories and other aids to position your chair and workspace in such a way that you don’t put stress on your hands, back, and shoulders. Practicing good posture and using a cushion and office chair that encourage you to sit correctly are also great ideas.

To ease the discomfort of aches and pains that come with working long hours, there are also palliative options that can go a long way toward making your workday more comfortable and helping you become more productive during the day. For tense shoulders and stressed muscles, try a warm compress, like the Heated Neck Wrap from Ostrichpillow. This is a simple, portable way to help reduce work-related stress and tension. Or try Heatbag, which can be warmed or cooled to help soothe tired feet, menstrual cramps, or other aches and pains that crop up after a long day at the computer.

Man sitting on a chair with a heat bag on his back

Ease eye strain and headaches with warm or cool compresses

Blue-light blocking glasses can help with insomnia or eye strain that can come from looking at computer, phone or tablet screens for too long. But how do you treat headaches and eye pain that also accompany typical office work? Relaxing for a few minutes with your eyes closed and applying warm or cool pressure to the eyes and forehead can be a great way to refresh your eyes and help ease tension headaches. Try an eye mask that can be warmed up or cooled down according to your preferences. Sit back and close your eyes for a few minutes of relaxation and let the gentle pressure of the mask soothe away stress and tension. 

For tired feet and legs, compression socks can work wonders. Compression socks work by improving circulation in the feet and legs, keeping your tootsies warm and comfortable for long periods of sitting or inactivity. Compression socks also encourage healthy circulation, which is great for easing cramps and helping to reduce the risk of varicose veins.

Feet with compression socks

To prevent injury and stay comfortable at work —as well as manage work-related pain— it’s key to pay attention to your body’s cues. Stand up for frequent walks, stay hydrated, and take breaks throughout the day to keep your body moving. Arrange your workspace ergonomically to help prevent repetitive stress issues, and don’t forget to take a few minutes each day to rest your eyes and recharge your mind. 



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