The Health Threats of a Desk Job & How South Florida Workers Fare
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“Desk Threats” in South Florida

Dr. Andrew Sands
October 26, 2018

We might feel like we’re safe at our desks, but in reality, some might say our desks are consuming our health little by little. Desk threats in South Florida are a real thing. Not only does your sedentary lifestyle increase your risks of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, but sitting all day long is actually resulting in short-term consequences that can be disrupting your health.

From encouraging poor posture to getting tech-neck, desk threats are out there to get you - unless you do something about them by being proactive about your health.

What Are “Desk Threats”?

Although “desk threats” is not a medical term, we could argue it refers to all the possible conditions you expose yourself to every day while working at your desk. Sitting 8 to 10 hours per day can cause significant damage to our bodies. Likewise, adapting an ill position for many hours can lead to physical and health issues that can come back to haunt us in the long-term.

Tech-Neck

Everyone that works in front of a computer can confirm this: staring at a screen from 9-5 will give you neck pain. But, that’s just one side of the issue. Yes, staring at a screen in a fixed position for too long can lead to neck pain, which can cause headaches and even teeth grinding.

But, there’s another secret desk threat out there to get us. Tech-neck is what doctors are referring to as the consequences of looking down at a screen using only the neck. Even if you have perfect posture, while you’re looking down your neck is still carrying up to 12 pounds. Balancing this weight alone can aggravate your neck pain. But, this weight actually increases the more you bend your neck forward to look at your screen.

Adopting this position almost every day can be dangerous. As we continue looking down at our phones and computer screens, the vertebrae in our neck start shifting out of alignment to provide better support for this position. This extra pressure can lead to herniated discs, bone spurs and other spinal conditions.

Carpal Tunnel

Perhaps the most common desk threat in the world is carpal tunnel. One of the leading causes of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is excessive typing. Those with carpal tunnel experience a shooting pain at the wrist that can radiate up the arms.

While carpal tunnel pain is often tolerable, it can get bad enough to lead to permanent nerve damage, muscle-wasting, and may even need surgery to get corrected. Carpal tunnel can be prevented by stretching and warming up the wrist throughout the workday, as well as through chiropractic wrist adjustments to make sure the joints are aligned and healthy.

Misaligned Spine

Sitting for hours can significantly cause an impact on your spine. From slipped intervertebral discs to subluxation, sitting takes a toll on your back. Sitting for hours often leads to people adopting unnatural body positions to find some relief.

However, by trying to adopt a comfortable position, we end up pushing our bodies into unnatural curves that can wreak havoc on our spine’s proper alignment, which is why we end up with back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and other spinal conditions such a herniated or bulging disc.

Poor Posture

In the long-term, forcing our bodies into these unnatural positions can lead to poor posture. Either our back is hunched forward, our neck is tilted forward and down, or our lower back is out of alignment. But beyond back and neck pain, having bad posture can affect our breathing, our sight, and even our weight.

When poor posture is overlooked, the natural curvature of the spine can permanently change. This can lead to issues such as scoliosis, which can lead to moderate to severe episodes of pain. In severe cases, braces may be necessary to correct the curvature.

Health Statistics on Office Workers in South Florida

With different industries developing in South Florida, it is no surprise that office workers in the area are feeling the dangers of desk threats. From Aventura to Pompano Beach, office workers are feeling the signs and pains associated with many of these common desk threats.

South Florida is a very diverse area, and with offices near Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Plantation, and beyond, at ChiroCare of Florida we’ve seen the effects of desk threats first hand.

Here’s a breakdown of desk-related health condition statistics in South Florida involving days away from work in 2010:

  • 3,060 cases due to neck, shoulder, and upper back pain
  • 5,210 cases due to back pain
  • 250 cases due to carpal tunnel syndrome
  • 905 cases due to low back hospitalization
  • 676 cases due to low back surgery

In Aventura

The median age for Aventura is about 49, meaning most have spent their fair share of time in the workforce. This means that the average worker is more likely to suffer from back pain due to work-related conditions. With most jobs going to the sales, management, and administrative sectors, the Aventura worker is spending much of his/her days exposed to these desk threats and increasing their chances of suffering from tech-neck, carpal tunnel, or back pain.

In Fort Lauderdale

At a younger median age than Aventura, the average age for Fort Lauderdale rests at 42. Common work sectors include real state, rental, and wholesale, meaning workers in this area are more likely on their feet than behind a desk. And, while this might lower their risks of suffering from one of these desk conditions, staying on their feet all day also has its consequences.

In Plantation

The Plantation worker is very similar to the Fort Lauderdale worker, just a bit younger at a median age of 40. However, they share similar job industries with real state, rental, and wholesale taking the lead.

In Pompano Beach

The average worker in Pompano is about 41 years old. The vast majority belongs to the construction sector, which places people at higher risk of suffering an occupational injury with far more risks than these desk threats. However, following them, we have workers in administrative and support jobs that spend their share of time behind a desk.

How to Prevent “Desk Threats”

Even though these desk threats are always out there to get us, there are many actions you can take to reduce your exposure to such threats. Having an ergonomic workspace is one of them. Standing up to move and re-align your body at least twice an hour is another. Making sure your chair has the proper back support is also helpful.

But beyond the things you can do at your workspace, here are some options you can pursue to really make sure your body is at its best health.

Chiropractic Care

Poor posture at the workspace all day can misalign your spine. Find the right balance and re-align your spine with chiropractic care. By adjusting the back, chiropractors can relieve pressure off the spine and spinal nerves. This can provide instant pain relief, as well as work on correcting posture and aligning the spine.

Massage Therapy

The uncomfortable seated position at a desk at work can cause nerves to contract and tense up. Massage therapy can help release some of the tension and give you comfort and pain relief from muscle tension. Massage therapy can also help with soft tissue pain, while helping you feel more relaxed and calm.

Acupuncture

Many believe in the power of energy to find pain relief. Acupuncture can help unblock those energy passages to make sure your body’s energy (chi) is flowing freely. Acupuncture can help ease back pain, loosen tense muscles, alleviate headaches, and even help with migraines.

Cryotherapy

Another way to make sure your body doesn’t fall victim to these desk threats is through cryotherapy. The freezing temperatures of the chamber help to bring down your body’s temperature, and as a result, you experience lessened back pain, relaxed muscles, instant energy, and a feeling of well-being after each session.

The Bottom Line

Instead of waiting for these threats to get the best of you, invest in preventative care to maintain the health of your body. If you’re ready to guard your body against the painful threats lingering at your desk, contact ChiroCare of Florida today to schedule your first appointment.

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