In this age of technology and instant communication, most office work requires employees to be attached to their devices for the majority of the workday.
For many of us, whether we work in law, finance, health care, technology, education, or design, constant access to a computer has become vital. Due to this, we find ourselves sitting for longer periods of time than humans ever have throughout history.
This can be stressful on the body as is – and now we also have to consider the many workers at home using dining room chairs or couches as a workspace.
Take our client Adrian, for example. Adrian was 32 years old in March of 2020 when his office in Waterloo closed due to the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. He had been working various office jobs for the last 10 years and had taken for granted the ergonomic set-up at his desk. For years he had been using a professional office chair, keyboard, and monitor. When his office closed, he started working from home. Luckily, his company pivoted to remote work very easily – however Adrian lived in a 1 bedroom condo with his partner, and they didn’t have a lot of space to spread out. They both began working from their dining room table on their dining room chairs. Adrian had never noticed before how uncomfortable these chairs were. To compensate, he put a throw pillow on the chair, which helped him stay more comfortable.
Over the next few weeks, his back began feeling a bit weak. He chocked it up to his new lackluster work setup, but never got around to changing it.
After a few weeks of using his dining room chair, Adrian suffered a back injury. He was bent over, unpacking groceries, when he heard a pop in his back. He was suddenly in excruciating pain. He called his doctor, who wasn’t seeing patients in person, but over a video call was able to set Adrian up with several back specialists. It took months for Adrian to be able to see the doctors he needed. By the time he got a diagnosis of a herniated disc in his lower back, he had permanent symptoms of nerve damage that impacted his ability to sit for more than half an hour at a time.
This change all happened within just nine months. By the time Adrian became a client of our long term disability lawyers, he was applying for long term disability benefits, but had been denied. The insurance company believed that he could find a job that did not involve as much sitting. But Adrian knew – and we believed him – that he wasn’t able to work.
Back health is essential to our lives – many people take for granted having a healthy back and good mobility until it’s gone.
Office Work Leading Cause of Back Pain
It is no surprise that back pain has become a leading cause of complaint and suffering among those who do office work or are working at a computer from home. This issue is further exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle at home. After a hard day’s work, it is easy to fall into inactive patterns. Patterns such as watching television or sitting with a book to unwind.
“A sedentary life can affect your health in ways you may not realize,” states a study from Harvard Health. “For example, prolonged sitting, like spending hours watching television, can increase your chance of developing venous thrombosis (potentially fatal blood clots that form in the deep veins of the legs), according to a study of more than 15,000 people. In fact, people who watched television the most had a 70% greater risk of suffering from venous thrombosis compared with those who never or seldom watched TV.”
Many Techniques to Aid Those Who Work at a Desk
It is estimated that 67% of older adults report sitting for more than 8 hours per day. Only 28% to 34% of adults ages 65 to 74 are physically active. While this is a growing concern – there are many techniques that can be put in place to aid those who work at a desk.
Spine-health.com offers 10 tips for reducing back pain in the office or when working from home. One of the most effective techniques is making movement a priority. In order to maintain proper posture, it is imperative that you change positions often. Setting an alarm to go on a two minute walk or stretch break every 30 minutes can make an immense difference. Footrests, lumbar supports, and ergonomic chairs will help a great deal in keeping the spine properly aligned. Supportive footwear is also a great tool for aiding correct posture. Perhaps most importantly, getting exercise outside of office must be a priority. Proper physical activity will strengthen the muscles around your back, in turn providing support for long periods of sitting.
Taking these steps can prevent many back injuries and symptoms.
If you have had your claim for long term disability denied, contact the long term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.