4 Most Common Desk Job Related Injuries That Physical Therapy Can Help Treat
Do you have a desk job and find that the minor aches and pains you initially experienced have now
become more persistent? If so, you are not alone as the average person spends 13 hours a day sitting and
some experts are now saying that sitting is the new smoking. Have no fear, physical therapy can help with
most desk related injuries while preventing your symptoms from getting worse. Here are the most
common injuries people experience on a daily basis:
1. Low Back Pain
Whether it’s occasional pain or an ongoing ache, back pain can keep you from performing at your best.
Sitting at your desk for hours at a time can cause lower back pain, which is the most common
work-related injury. Slumping back in your desk chair or slouching forward means your spine is out of
alignment which puts increased strain on the ligaments and muscles in your back. With poor posture,
muscle groups tend to get weaker, which makes it more difficult to maintain proper posture throughout
the day. Abdominal strengthening can help take pressure off your back making it easier to maintain good
posture. That’s where your physical therapist comes in to help. With proper stretching, strengthening and
muscular re-education, physical therapy can help reduce the symptoms you’re feeling and help prevent
2. Wrist & Elbow Strains and Overuse Injuries
Spending all day and night typing on your keyboard to respond to emails, write reports, and create
presentations can cause injuries that can become more serious over time. A combination of overuse and
positioning at your keyboard are to blame. Repetitive motion causes fatigue and as a result, the tendons
may become inflamed. Being hunched forward restricts proper blood flow and causes increased tightness
in your upper extremities, which can eventually lead to numbness and tingling in the arms and hands.
Consulting a physical therapist can help reduce neurological symptoms and pain with proper stretching
techniques and strengthening exercises. Physical therapists can also educate you on proper ergonomics
while finding a way to make your work environment best for you in order to prevent recurring injuries.
3. Neck & Shoulder Pain
Neck and shoulder injuries tend to go unnoticed or brushed aside until the pain starts to affect other
aspects of your life. Often, these aches and pains stem from placing your keyboard or computer monitor
too far away on your desk, or through the use of multiple monitors. Poor posture and body positioning can
cause your neck and shoulders to slouch forward, which strains the surrounding muscles and soft tissue.
In order to facilitate better posture by strengthening weaker muscle groups, you should consider
consulting with a physical therapist. The physical therapist can help remedy your current symptoms, as
well as ensure positive longer-term changes through neuromsucular re-education.
4. Tight Hips
Time spent sitting in a bent position at your desk shortens your hip flexors, which are a group of muscles
that are located at the front of your hips that can cause pain when tight. Tight hip flexors may also be
exacerbated during your commute to and from work, whether it be sitting in the car or riding the subway.
Unfortunately, tight hips are frequently overlooked and can have a significant impact on daily movements
and functional tasks. However, through various tests and measurements, physical therapists can help
identify tight hips and create an appropriate treatment plan.
Even if you are not suffering from severe pain or postural problems, physical therapy can still help you.
Don’t wait until that minor elbow pain or occasional back pain become so severe that you have difficulty
getting through the day or completing your daily activities. Physical therapy goals are created specifically
for each individual with different goals in mind. Becoming knowledgeable about the proper posture and
work ergonomics while receiving effective treatment for minor pains can help prevent recurring desk
related injuries. Contact Exchange Physical Therapy Group today with any questions.
-Erin Granahan PTA