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Most career-orientated individuals dream of working with companies that often require working many hours in an office environment. The transition to ‘office life’ can be difficult at first but as time goes by, you will eventually get used to a standard working pattern. It often happens in busy environments where people have to work from the office for most of the day, in front of a computer screen.
As much as it may appear quite common in today’s society, it can adversely affect the spine and the muscles, consequently affecting your overall health. Read on to understand what office syndrome is, its causes and symptoms, as well some recommended treatments and preventive measures.
What is Office Syndrome?
As the name suggests, office syndrome happens with people working in an office or more accurately, working in front of computer. Although it may seem trivial, it can have adverse consequences if not taken seriously.
Office syndrome can easily be explained by the symptoms or pain a person feels when sitting for long hours in the same position.
Some muscles continuously contract, which leads to muscle strains. Among the areas that get affected the most include the neck, spine, and the shoulders.
Due to the recent pandemic, the number of people working from home has increased, which has further amplified the affects of working in front of a computer, as most home offices are not as well equipped as your standard company office.
Nevertheless, both working environments, at home or at your office, increase the likelihood of suffering symptoms from office syndrome.
Causes of Office Syndrome
Any person who sits in the same position for long hours staring at the computer screen can experience the effects of office syndrome. It all starts with a poor working environment, long working hours without adequate breaks, and inappropriate sitting posture or poorly designed desk set up. Other contributing factors may also include:
- Repeated mouse clicking and typing can cause the muscles to strain, causing pain in the fingers and the wrist.
- Prolonged poor sitting posture, with one leg over the other for long periods, can cause weight gain on the other leg, which leads to cramps and can affect the spine after some period.
- Wearing high-heels can also lead to a misaligned spine that causes backache.
- Inappropriate desk height and improper positioning of the computer screen can cause poor posture leading to muscle strains.
- When working long hours on the computer, you can experience headaches and eye dryness.
- Insufficient breaks during work.
The above cases can cause severe psychological symptoms like fatigue, depression, and poor sleep patterns, which harms overall health.
Symptoms of Office Syndrome
So, how do you know, or when do you realize you are suffering consequences of office syndrome?
Symptoms can be divided into three phases, depending on the duration and severity:
Phase 1: At this point, the person experiences mild pain while working, but the pain fades away when sleeping or resting. The pain doesn’t occur regularly to the extent of affecting the working schedule.
Phase 2: Here, sleep or rest doesn’t drive the pain away. Instead, the pain reoccurs with feelings of weaknesses, swelling, and numbness in the areas affected. The pain can cause poor sleep patterns and poor performance at work.
Phase 3: The pain is severe, and sleeping & resting can’t help. There is low productivity while working due to extreme pain. Above all, the pain lasts longer and may call for advanced medical attention.
Do not wait until it is too late to act upon a problem. Take note of the symptoms below and find help before things get out of hand.
- dry eyes
- chronic muscle pain
- feelings of sadness or depression
- poor sleep patterns
- constant headaches
- extreme pain in the knee, neck, and shoulder
- dizziness feelings
- numbness of the feet, fingers, and arms
- eyes soreness
Remedies/Treatment of Office Syndrome
The good news is that there are remedies and preventive measures to fix this.
- Adopt the Right Sitting Posture
When talking about office syndrome, the whole idea goes back to the sitting posture.
When sitting, maintain a straightened back, rolled shoulders, and pull the neck backward. Start by embracing the right sitting posture, and your body will automatically start functioning better.
Other preventive measures related to posture include:
- Check your head’s position – If your head isn’t in the right place or the right level relative to your computer screen, it will affect the neck muscles and lead to pain in the neck. When using a computer, ensure the screen is at the eye’s level so that you don’t have to keep straining your neck upwards or downwards.
- Use the right equipment – For example, you must have a comfortable chair that gives you enough space and comfort as you work. In some cases, you can put a pillow behind the chair to support your back.
- Support your arms – As you work in an office, ensure you don’t pull your neck and shoulders to maintain a neutral position. Be in a situation that your feet stay firm on the ground.
Adapting Massage to Help Relieve Pain
When you experience severe office syndrome, getting a massage may help alleviate the pain.
Deep Tissue Massage – This massage type involves applying extreme pressure and slow strokes that reach the muscle’s deep layers. Deep muscle and tissue massage are helpful when a person experiences repeated chronic pains and aches such as lower back pain, sore shoulders, stiff neck and upper back, and leg muscle tightness.
It involves using different techniques to relieve the pain in the affected areas. Therapists normally apply some light pressure or some heat to warm up the muscles. Some of the methods professionals use while providing a deep tissue massage include:
- Applying the pressure across the muscle grain to realign the tissue fibers and release tension
- Therapists often use their elbows, thumbs, forearms, or knuckles to apply pressure along the muscle fibers.
Herbal Compress Massage
For many centuries, Thais have used dried herbs as remedies for numerous ailments of the body. Today, the herbal compress is widely used as an effective treatment for muscle and soft tissue injuries.
By incorporating massage with the use of the Herbal Compress, one can receive maximum benefits for the body. The heat will help warm up the muscles and the herbs will boost the detoxifying effects of the massage.
Aromatherapy Hot Oil Massage
Adding heat to an aromatherapy massage gives this modality its signature footprint. Enjoy the dexterity of expert therapists while they employ the warmth of an essential oil blend. The pressure given by therapist eases muscle tension and strains caused by office syndrome.
Note: Drink more water after a massage to flush all the toxic waste from the tissues.
Deep tissue massage may not be safe for the following people. In such conditions, you must check with your doctor first.
- When you are at risk of forming blood clots or if you have blood clots.
- If you went through surgery recently, radiation, or chemotherapy
- When you have wounds, infected skin, tumors, bruises, fragile bones, and inflammation in the affected areas.
- When you are pregnant
Other remedies in treating symptoms caused by office syndrome include:
- Dry needling and acupuncture.
- Cupping treatment that involves the deep release of muscles to enhance proper blood circulation in the areas affected.
Office syndrome is a condition affecting many people. If you identify the problem early, you can take preventive measures to avoid experiencing chronic pains. We strongly encourage people to look at their seating and office setup as the first measure to take. And to help alleviate existing pain, make an appointment with an experienced massage therapist.