- Dr. Eric Carlsen
Ergonomics & Headache Pain: How Your Body May be Causing Its Own Stress
People suffering from recurring migraines may only have to look as far as their paycheck for answers. Sometimes we are so busy trying to do the right things for our jobs that we do all the wrong things for our bodies while at work. From how we sit and move around during the day to how we deal with stress, the things we are doing at work may be what is causing us the most pain and aggravation.
Sitting at a desk or leaning over a project can contribute to a slouched posture. For most of us, the chairs we are used to don’t really encourage good posture. If you find yourself hunched over a keyboard or bent at an odd angle trying to figure out a problem, you may want to invest in an ergonomically sound chair or workbench. Ergonomic furniture promotes good posture and will help you keep your back straight and your head up while you’re working.
Stress and How It Affects You
Another way we sabotage ourselves at work is by letting stress take control of how we handle our bodies. Our muscles respond to stress by tightening up. When we experience stress in the workplace, the first muscles that are affected are those in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. This can result in migraines, chronic headaches, and a stiff neck.
Learn to deal with stress effectively. Get a massage regularly and learn to breathe through stressful events so the tension doesn’t get absorbed into your muscles.
Address the Triggers
If you begin to experience chronic headaches, it is crucial to figure out what is causing them so you can address the triggers. Check the lighting in your office or work area. Make sure it is bright enough to see, but not so bright that it hurts your eyes. Another important trigger is clutter. Keep your area clean and dust-free. When your area is free of dust and debris, it is easier for you to find what you need without struggling through piles of paperwork and other messes.
Create a Healthy Environment
Surround yourself with the things you like. For example, place pictures of your kids at eye level. Put the things you use the most within easy reach. Organize your desk and make sure you have enough room to do your job without bumping into things or knocking items over. When you know where things are and you can find them easily, your frustration level is kept to a minimum and it won’t add to the stressors you can’t control.
Credit: National Headache Institute