Suffering at Work? Remedies for Common Workplace Issues!

Do you ever experience aches and pains from sitting at your desk? How about while texting on your phone or typing on your computer? Here are some causes of these common workplace pains and how to alleviate them.

Problem #1 – Wrist Pain

What causes it?  Typing on your computer, mousing, texting

Potential health issue: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Solutions:

    1. Wear a wrist brace.   Wrist splints and braces can easily be found at most drugstores and in the health or pharmacy section of stores like Target and Walmart.  Or better yet, visit your physician to have a splint properly fitted to your wrist.  Stabilizing the wrist both during the day and at night works by keeping the wrist in an optimal position for healing.
    2. Stretching.   Basic stretching techniques can reduce pain and prevent the onset of carpal tunnel pain.  This brief video from the Mayo Clinic demonstrates some quick, simple stretches designed to reduce wrist pain and fatigue.  https://bcove.me/ply6qv2i

3. Acupuncture. Acupuncture can loosen arm and hand muscles and reduce inflammation in the carpal tunnel. Many of our patients have avoided surgery after a successful course of acupuncture!

Problem #2 – Headaches & Mental Stress

What causes it? Stress, job frustration, fluorescent lights

Potential health issues: migraine headaches, anxiety, vision changes, insomnia

Solutions:

  1. Deep Breathing.  Sometimes simply taking a few deep breaths can trigger your body’s relaxation response and change your physical and emotional response to stress, as well as decrease heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and general muscle tension. Try a simple technique called “5-10 Breathing”.  Find a quiet spot (or just close your eyes at your desk). Sit in a chair with your back straight and arms at your sides, or with hands folded in your lap.   Take a deep, slow breath for 5 seconds, and imagine first filling up your abdomen then your lungs with air.  Hold the breath for a few seconds, then breath out slowly through your mouth, taking 10 seconds to exhale.  The number of seconds doesn’ t need to be exact, you can adjust to a count that feel right for you.
  2. Meditation at Your Desk.  You don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor for hours to achieve the vast benefits of meditation! Thanks to modern technology, there are numerous free apps and podcasts offering guided meditations to suit your needs.  Just grab your phone and do a little searching until you find one that works for you. We love the Calm.com website and app!  Just plug in your headphones and get ready to relax.  Beautiful imagery and gentle nature sounds to set a relaxing mood, and you can choose if you’d like a guided meditation to coach you thru the relaxation process.   You can even set the length of time you’d like to relax, making it perfect for a quick 5 minute chill-out session at your desk, or a longer 30-minute session for deeper relaxation.
  3. Essential Oils.  Lavender essential oil is known for its calming and balancing effect on both the physical and emotional being.  Essential oils can be utilized in a number of ways.  Simply place a few drops onto a warm compress, handkerchief or pillow. A few drops may also be used in a diffuser or added to bath salts for a skin-softening, muscle-relaxing bath experience. Some people find that applying a small amount to the soles of the feet or to the back of the neck is also quite effective. In addition to Lavender, there are many essential oils helpful in balancing your mood and reducing stress in different ways.  Sweet Orange and Lemongrass help elevate mood and lift depression. Lemon is detoxifying. Peppermint reduces stress and invigorates energy. Choose your favorite!
  4. Acupuncture. Multiple studies show the positive effect of acupuncture on tension headaches. A comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs found acupuncture to have a positive effect in the treatment chronic pain, migraines and tension headaches. (Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway M, et al. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. VAE-ESP Project #05-226; 2013.) Nothing beats acupuncture for headaches and stress! At Healing InSight we frequently treat tension headaches and migraines, and our patients report fewer and oftentimes no headaches after a few months. Some no longer need medications and others say that even if they occasionally need to use medications they work more effectively and have fewer side effects.

Problem #3 – Afternoon Slump/Brain Fog

Causes:  exhaustion, overworking, poor nutrition, poor sleep

Potential health issue: depression, memory issues, weight gain

Solutions:

  1. Add high protein foods, especially for breakfast. The afternoon slump often occurs due to blood sugar issues, especially when starting the day by eating a carb-heavy breakfast or skipping breakfast completely.  The most important principle for balancing blood sugar is to eat protein, good fats, and healthy carbohydrates at every meal.   Insulin is secreted whenever your blood sugar rises, and if you eat primarily carbs your blood sugar will spike and crash all day long.  And when your blood sugar crashes, you crash along with it! Besides causing fatigue, brain fog, and sugar cravings, increased insulin tells your body to store energy and hold onto fat. Insulin also increases inflammation and leads to dozens of diseases and body pain. Protein helps slow the release of carbs into your blood stream while also stimulates glucagon production, which counterbalances insulin and tells the body to burn fat. Restricting carbs and eating adequate protein are key to help you stabilize blood sugar and keeping your energy strong throughout the day.
  2. Reduce heavy, greasy meals at lunch.   How many times do you eat out for lunch during the week?  Are your lunch breaks filled with bread-heavy sandwiches, French fries, or other deep-fried or greasy meals?   If you’ve been working hard all day, it’s easy to think we should reward ourselves with a meal that might initially taste good, but we know will leave us feeling heavy, sleepy, and mentally dull through the afternoon. Sometimes it can be tough to make good eating decisions when you’re at a business lunch with limited options.  When eating unhealthy is unavoidable, simply focus on making the best decisions out of what’s available to you.  For example, if your boss has ordered pizza for the team, choose a smaller slice of veggie or plain cheese and watch your portion sizes.
  3. Move your body. Our bodies are designed to move, not sit at desks all day long. For optimum health and healing, the right balance of physical activity is important.  Maintaining a regular exercise program outside of work is essential for ongoing health, consistent energy levels, and a sharp mind.  In addition, short movement breaks throughout your day can help when the afternoon slump hits, even if it’s just a quick walk thru your building.  Need to talk to a co-worker for 5-10 minutes?  Why not walk & talk outside rather than sit in a conference room?   If you tend to get lost in your work, set calendar reminders throughout your day to remind you to get up and stretch or move.
  4. Herbs and Acupuncture. Brain fog and that horrible afternoon slump are often a sign of Qi Deficiency, or a profound lack of energy. Using well-balanced herbs and a course of acupuncture treatment, your energy can improve significantly…and stay that way!

Problem #4 – Neck & Shoulder Pain

Causes: stress, poor posture , talking on phone, texting, poor ergonomics at your desk

Potential health issue:  chronic pain, decreased range of motion, degeneration of joints/discs.

Solutions:

    1. Epsom Salt Baths.  Reduce pain by taking a warm bath with 1 cup of epsom salt added at least once a week.  The epsom salt relaxes muscles and flushes out toxins through the lymphatic system
    2. Stretching.  This brief video from the Mayo Clinic demonstrates some quick, simple stretches designed to instantly reduce neck tension.  https://bcove.me/5o2mq6f6

   3. Watch your Posture.

 Desk Posture

4.   Acupuncture. Acupuncture is amazing at treating all types of pain, and neck and shoulder pain are no exception. In fact, Brian Williams discussed it on NBC’s Nightly News and a recent study showed that acupuncture significantly outperforms standard care in headache, low back, neck, and knee pain.

At Healing InSight we love helping people alleviate common workplace aches and pains so you don’t have to suffer through your day anymore. Give us a call for a free consultation or book an appointment online to find out how we can help you!