Whether you’re studying for exams, working all night to finish a project, or putting in long hours in front of a screen, body pain while sitting for prolonged periods is more common than you might think.
Today, we’ll highlight 5 simple steps you can take to minimize the chance of body pain while increasing your productivity at the same time.
Sounds good, right?
We’ll get right down to business so you can save up any pain even if you’re staying up all night pounding the keyboard.
5 Ways to Reduce Body Pain When Studying or Working Overtime
- Start with proper posture
- Ensure your monitor is correctly positioned
- Take regular breaks regardless of how much work you have on your plate
- Choose the right ergonomic chair for your needs and budget
- Don’t overlook lumbar support if you have back pain
1) Start with proper posture
One of the most effective ways to mitigate back pain developing when you’re studying for extended spells is to be fully aware of your posture.
Beyond this, poor posture is one of the leading causes of back pain.
Look at the way you sit in your chair when you’re working. You need to consider that your spine is naturally curved and designed so it can bend and accommodate a variety of positions. Slouch for too long, though, and you’ll end up putting undue stress on your spine which will likely lead to back pain.
You should keep your head in an upright position when you’re studying. To achieve this, you’ll need to make sure that your monitor is properly set up.
2) Ensure your monitor is correctly positioned
If at all possible work on a desktop rather than a laptop. If this is not practical, consider using a second screen for your laptop. You could also experiment with a standing desk and a laptop stand.
Assuming you have a desktop set-up, you should make sure your monitor is not positioned too high or it will be a literal pain in the neck.
Instead, line up the top of the monitor so it sits at eye level.
You should place the monitor roughly arm’s length away.
Even if you do nothing else at all, sitting upright with your workstation configured as above should go some way toward minimizing back and neck pain associated with sitting for prolonged periods.
There’s one more simple tweak you can take before you think about improving your furniture and that’s taking plenty of breaks…
3) Take regular breaks regardless of how much work you have on your plate
Now, if you have a huge amount of work today, whether it’s studying or working overtime from home to complete a large project, it’s tempting to think you’ll achieve more if you stay in your seat for hours on end.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You should take a short break every 30 minutes, even if that’s just popping to the bathroom or grabbing a glass of water. This will give your eyes a rest and help to prevent eye strain, and you’ll also have a chance to give your back and neck a rest.
You could try using the Pomodoro technique to get more done while also ensuring you take regular breaks. Set a timer for 25 or 30 minutes. Do nothing but a single task during that segment of time. If you are constantly juggling tabs and multi-tasking, you might be surprised at how much more you can achieve by dialing things back and focusing on a single task.
When the timer is complete, take a 5-minute break. Then, either continue with the same task if you haven’t completed it or push on to the next thing on your to-do list. Every time you complete 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.
These timings are fluid, so make them fit your requirements. The principle is sound whatever time increments you choose, though: work intensively for short bursts, take regular breaks, and return invigorated and ready to power through your list of tasks.
Not only will working like this take the strain off your back and neck, but you should also find that you get more done without ever feeling stressed or worrying about multiple tasks.
Pro Tip: Each time you take a short break, do a few push-ups, lunges, star jumps, or any other exercise in line with your fitness level. The burst of endorphins released by your body will give you a mental boost while also stretching your body.
4) Choose the right ergonomic chair for your needs and budget
Now, assuming you have your posture in check, an intelligently-designed workstation, and you’re taking regular breaks, there’s one other major factor to consider: the chair you’re sitting in.
Do you work from home spending long unbroken hours in front of a screen?
Are you routinely staying up all night studying?
If you spend lengthy periods sitting at home, you should seriously consider investing in an ergonomic chair.
There’s no right or wrong way to go here. You might want a classic office chair, or you may prefer something more laid-back and relaxed if you spend a lot of time at your desk thinking and planning rather than hammering the keyboard. You could also explore kneeling chairs and other forms of ergonomic chair specifically designed to alleviate back pain.
Whatever type of chair you’re looking at, it’s not wise to shop based purely on the bottom line. Buying the cheapest ergonomic chair will seldom yield the results you’re looking for.
Instead, dig a little deeper and make sure you find a chair that offers plenty of support while still giving you the comfort you need when you’re sedentary for extended spells.
5) Don’t overlook utilizing lumbar support if you have back pain
Last but not least, think about harnessing some form of lumbar support if you struggle to maintain proper posture despite your best efforts.
A simple lumbar pillow is a highly effective way to achieve this. The cushion attaches to your chair to provide the support you need in your lower back. Supporting your weight and displacing stress from the back, if you’re plagued with lower back pain, this addition to your office set-up might make a valuable difference.
If you’re still struggling with neck or back pain after studying, you should look for a trustworthy pain doctor in Gilbert, Arizona to address the situation more fully. There’s no need to suffer in silence.
Interesting Related Article: “Keep It Straight: 7 Health Benefits of Good Posture“