Pain Free Working

Work-Related Pains and Their Causes + Exercises to Help Relieve Them

If you work a desk job, you’ve probably noticed aches and pains in your body. You might be thinking, “I’m just sitting around, why is my body aching?” But that’s the thing — sitting for almost the entire day and doing things on your desk can cause your muscles to become stiff and sore. Work-related pains are very common, especially in individuals who barely move from their seats and concentrate movement on small parts of the body, such as the hands, wrists, or neck. 

When we experience work-related pains, our productivity and concentration dwindle. Suffering from pain can distract us from the tasks at hand. Not only that, but the more we let the pain occur, it can hamper us from living comfortably. If you’re experiencing some work-related pains, here are some ways to alleviate them.

Common Work Pains and How to Relieve Them

By its name, work-related pains are conditions that are either a direct result of an injury at work or a kind of pain that has a significant impact on your work duties. Sometimes, pain can happen without an obvious reason or source, but it can make working on your tasks become increasingly stressful.

It’s important to alleviate the pain you experience so that you don’t suffer any longer and can return to work happy and comfortable. Here are some of the most common work-related pains and how you can alleviate them with the use of exercise. 

Neck Strain

When you sit in the same position for long periods, you may have the tendency to slouch, leading to poor posture. You may also be straining your neck to get closer to your monitor. Neck pain can lead to headaches and stress in the upper body, preventing you from working at your best.

Neck Stretch

To relieve neck pain, you can do this stretch. Sit in your chair and with one hand, reach down to grab the side of the chair. Gently pull while tilting your head to one side. You should be able to feel a stretch on that side of your neck as well as your shoulder. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.  

Shoulder Pain

Often, chronic shoulder pain stems from frequently repeated activities, which is what most desk job workers do. These frequent motions can cause strain to the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. Shoulder pain can also happen if you’re seated in an awkward posture or are hunched over. 

Shoulder Stretch

You can minimize shoulder aches by doing this exercise. Stand or stay seated as you do this. First, stretch one arm across your body and hold it with your opposite hand. Next, pull that arm towards your chest until you feel a nice, gentle stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds before repeating with the opposite side. 

You can also get rid of shoulder pain by clasping your hands behind your back. Next, push your chest outward and gently raise your chin. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Wrist Ache

Pain in the wrists is often the result of typing, which is a repetitive task. It can also be due to resting your hands against the hard surface of your desk. Doing either of those things can cause your median nerves to become compressed and pinched. If you continue to ignore your wrist pain, it can develop into something more serious such as carpal tunnel syndrome

Wrist Flexor Stretch

The best way to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome is to take breaks and rest your wrists when necessary. Another thing that you can do to reduce the chances of your wrist aching is to do a wrist flexor stretch. To start, extend your arm in front of you, with your palm facing up. Next, bend your wrist back and point your hand toward the floor. 

Using your other hand, gently bend your wrist as far as you can until you feel a gentle stretch in your forearm. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times before doing the same with your other hand. 

Back Ache

An aching back can make it difficult to concentrate on your job. When you sit in the same position for several hours a day, a key disc in the lower back can become compressed, causing back pain. Additionally, your office chair may not have the back support that you need or maybe you’re sitting in an awkward position, causing your back to become sore. 

Side Bend

Doing this stretch can help in lengthening the lower back and side muscles that have become cramped from sitting for long periods. To start, take a deep breath and reach your right arm up and over your head, slowly bending to the left with your left arm hanging by your side. Hold the position as you take five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. You can do this exercise standing or seated.

Hip Pain

Your upper leg bones connect to your body via your hip joints. When you slouch while working at your desk, your hips may accumulate a lot of pressure, leading to hip pain. Your hips can also become stiff if you don’t move around and stay in one position for too long. Performing an exercise can reduce the pain and stiffness that you may feel, and even improve joint mobility. 

Hip Flexion

You can alleviate discomfort in the hips by doing hip flexions. This exercise can strengthen the hip muscles, allowing them to support the hip joint better. To do this, begin by standing upright. Next, extend one arm out to the side and hold on to a sturdy surface, such as your chair or desk, for support. 

Slowly raise your right knee to hip level or as far as is comfortable for you. Keep your left leg straight. Hold this position for a second before placing your right foot back on the floor. Repeat the motion with your left knee. Do about 5 to 10 repetitions of this exercise. 

Sore Feet and Leg Pain

Your lower limbs can also be in pain as well even if you work a desk job. This is because your feet aren’t being used regularly. Little to no movements at all can also cause blood to pool in your legs and feet, eventually causing strain on your muscles, and leading to swelling. Additionally, if your chair isn’t the right height for you and you end up dangling your feet over the floor, you may experience leg pain. 

Changing your posture and adjusting your chair are just some of the things that you can do to lessen leg pain. Another thing that you can do is to do some exercises. 

Seated Leg Raises

This exercise works your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles all at once. Start by sitting upright in your chair, keeping your arms at your side and your shoulders relaxed. Raise your left leg up, straightening it so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure that it forms a right angle with your body. Hold it in place for 10 seconds and repeat the motions with your right leg. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. Ensure that your core is engaged and that you keep your back straight as you do this.

Final Note

Aches and pains related to work can be prevented or reduced by doing small, simple exercises throughout the day. Aside from exercise, it’s also important to have a workspace that’s comfortable and supportive.

You can do this by having an ergonomic setup using an adjustable desk, a chair with lumbar support, and investing in ergonomic accessories. If you have acute or chronic muscle pain, it’s better to seek a doctor for professional medical advice. Stay safe and healthy!

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.