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Sridharan, Organizational Development
Specialist says some of the things that can
lead to emotional problems in the workplace
include an overwhelming workload and
unrealistic expectations of the organization.
An unrealistic expectation of the individual of
himself and a perfectionist attitude that does
not allow him/her to be flexible is another big
one. “Another is not paying attention to the
need for taking short breaks within the work
day to re-energize the mind and the body, for
example always having lunch at their desk,” she
says and also not being able to say “no” to any
extra work and physical discomfort, such as a
high AC, uncomfortable chair, desk, or other
ergonomics can lead to pains and stress.
Signs
One sign of job-related stress, points out
Sridharan, is constant anxiety and tension
leading to panic attacks or prolonged anxiety
attacks. “Another is physical ailments such as
headaches, gastric problems, skin eruptions,
and hair loss,” she says as well as lack of
motivation, dreading the work day, and poor
performance, and constantly making mistakes
also go hand in hand. “Also an inability to rest,
sleep, and withdrawal from the peer group and
other office relationships are also signs of work
related anxiety,” she says. “A build-up of these
negative emotions is extremely unsafe.”
Office Chair
In our offices, most of us spend most of the
day sitting, hunched over the laptop as we
work the day away. And Dr. Pamela Leader,
Doctor of Chiropractic and Managing
Director of Chiropractic Dubai at Emirates
European Medical Centre points out that
almost every patient who comes into her clinic
is in the office all day working at a desk and
computer workstation. “Most people using
a poorly designed office chair or working
at an unsuitable workstation tend to start
getting neck pain, shoulder pain, low back
pain and sometimes headaches,” she says
and they usually think it’s nothing serious so
they end up taking pain killers to numb the
pain, but this doesn’t correct the cause of the
problem so the pain tends to return and can
become chronic. “Repetitive Strain Injury
(RSI) is the main problem associated with
a poorly designed office chair and is caused
by a repeated action or posture, leading to
injury through strain,” she says. “Also sitting in
awkward postures, working at poorly designed
workstations, and repeatedly performing
manual actions such as typing can all lead to
repetitive strain injury.” The pain and disability
incurred by these injuries builds up gradually
and can sometimes even be permanent.
Excessive Sitting
A large part of the population, tells Dr. Leader,
is now spending much time sitting and not
enough time moving their body. “Prolonged
sitting strains muscles and spinal joints in the
lower back, the upper back and the neck,” she
says and if ignored, this can lead to chronic
lower back pain involving the sacro-iliac
joints, the lumbar spine and depending on the
positions you adopt, the dorsal and cervical
spine. Muscle strain leads to spasm and
imbalance, which in turn can block the pelvic
and spinal joints causing pelvic dysfunction
or facet syndrome. Left untreated, it can
also result in degenerative disc disease, disc
herniation and facet joint arthritis.
The Correct Way to Sit
We spend half of our lives at work, so Dr.
Leader stresses it is important that the
chair you spend half of your life using is
ergonomically correct. “The user should
always sit up with their straight back resting
on their chair, lower back supported well
and with the neck and head aligned with the
spine,” she says. “The chair should be strong,
easily adjustable with a padded seat to contour
support with a sturdy five-legged base with five
casters that roll easily with the seat pan length
sufficient enough to support the thighs, with
two inches distance between the edge of the
seat pan and the back of the knees.” The Seat
pan should tilt to a minimum adjustable range
of about five degrees forward and backward
and the backrest should provide an adjustable
lumbar support that matches the curve of the
lower back. “The backrest should recline at
least 15 degrees and should lock into place
for firm support and the headrest of the chair
should not poke the head of the employee
forward,” she says, and armrests should be
padded and soft and large enough to support
the forearm without interfering with the work
surface.
Tips to Being
Happier In The Office:
Focus on prevention,
ask your
employer about getting your desk
area assessed for ergonomics. Don’t
feel shy about asking, this is your
health and should be taken seriously.
Telephone, laptop stands, keyboard,
mouse and mouse pad
can be
checked for optimum position and
ergonomic suitability. Make sure your
screen is directly in front of you if
possible.
Get up from your desk and take
regular breaks.
A two minute walk
around the office with regular
stretches at least every hour but
preferably every half hour.
Stretching exercises at work are
great,
a few minutes of stretching
in your chair can help loosen those
tight muscles and may decrease the
chances of getting pain or RSI from
workplace stress.
Air conditioning should not hit you
directly,
it may cause headaches
and other pain syndromes and
can also spread colds. Have the
vents redirected or ask for your
desk to be positioned away from
air conditioning units, and take a
cardigan or jacket into the office to
keep yourself warm.
Eat healthy snacks
at three to four
hour intervals and try to get away
from your desk to eat lunch.
If you are suffering from any kind
of pain
then you should see a
chiropractor to help diagnose and
treat the cause, not the symptoms of
an ailment.
H
July/Aug 2013
49