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Monday, November 29, 2021

Desk injuries: How to keep the joint aches and pains away

It's a well-known fact that sitting for long hours in front of the computer can harm your body. But simple changes and some basic exercises can help keep the aches and pains at bay.

Written by Dr Vaibhav Patil | Mumbai |
Updated: December 30, 2015 2:47:15 pm
Tennis elbows and writs lumps are very common desk injuries that occur because of the wrong way in which people keep their hands while typing on the keyboard. (Source: Thinkstock Images) Tennis elbows and writs lumps are very common desk injuries that occur because of the wrong way in which people keep their hands while typing on the keyboard. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

The biggest problem faced by the working professionals these days is the very lifestyle they lead. A sedentary lifestyle is arguably the most harmful of all. Sitting at one’s desk continuously for 10-12 hours, staring at the computer screen, ferociously tapping away at the keyboard are now actions that most have now resigned their fate up to. But that doesn’t mean that the plethora of aches and pains that accompany such a lifestyle need to be lived with as well.

Sitting for long hours in front of the computer or spending hours at work in one particular body posture overloads your joints and tendons. This repetitive nature of work leads to painful musculoskeletal injuries that damage the joints, cartilages and the spine — these are called desk injuries.


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If you’re one of the few who can boast of not complaining about joint pains, or have just started your career, there are ways that you can lead a healthy, pain-free life if only you incorporate some simple exercises and/or avoid certain movements. But first, you need to understand the parts of your body that actually get affected — joints, cartilages, ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Your muscles are made up of cells and fibres, and are attached to tendons, which are bands of dense, tough, very strong tissue connecting the muscles to the bones. Every tendon is surrounded by a protective covering called a tendon sheath. The contraction of the muscles pull the tendons and, in turn, pull the bones along as you move.

Similarly, it’s important to understand your joints, cartilage and ligaments. Inside every joint is a smooth surface covering called cartilage and more lubricating synovial fluid, both of which make it easier for bones to rub together without pain. The ligaments connect bone to bone and give stability to the joints.

Now that you have understood the basics of your anatomy that’s involved when you’re ‘casually’ sitting at your desk all day, here’s a look at some of the most common ailments people complain about, and how to prevent them.

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One of the first things to keep in mind while sitting at your workstation is your posture, and the distance and angles at which your computer is kept. In one look, here are the basic adjustments you should make to your sitting posture and workstation, so that you stay healthy and fit.

Desk injuries3_759_Pinterest_wellsomedotcom (Source: Pinterest)

Dr Vaibhav Patil is a Muscoloskeltal & Sport Physiotherapist, with prior experience with the Indian team at the 2012 Olympics. He is the co–owner of REPLAY Sports Physiotherapy. Body Basics is weekly column that will focus on everyday fitness issues.

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