Common Health Problems From Working At A Desk That UR.Life OHC Can Help With

Health is a critical component for people and organisational success. A sedentary job working from a desk can have multifold implications for your mental and physical health. Learn how to navigate the impacts of working at a desk and prolonged sitting.

By Simran
15 Feb 2023

In today's fast-paced work environment, the majority of people spend a significant amount of their time sitting at a desk in front of a computer. While this may seem like a comfortable and convenient way to work, it can lead to several health concerns that can ultimately impact productivity and work performance.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 60 per cent of the world's population spends most of their day sitting, with a significant proportion of this time spent at work. Research has shown that this sedentary behaviour can lead to a variety of health problems, including an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

In addition to these chronic health concerns, working people are also at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, and burnout.


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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for 34 per cent of all work-related injuries and illnesses in the United States, with a total annual cost of around $50 billion. The American Institute of Stress reports that stress is the primary cause of employee absenteeism and results in an estimated $300 billion in lost productivity each year.

These statistics highlight the importance of addressing health concerns in the workplace and the role that Occupational Health Clinics (OHCs) can play in promoting the health and well-being of workers.

Here are some of the most common health problems associated with working from a desk and how an Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) can help:


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS is a condition that affects the hand and wrist, causing numbness, tingling, and pain. It's often caused by repetitive hand motions such as typing and can lead to decreased productivity due to difficulty in using hands for typing or manipulating tools.

OHCs can provide ergonomic assessments and recommend workstation modifications, exercises and proper posture practices to help prevent CTS. Also, on-demand physiotherapy works wonders for people with CTS.


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Headaches are a common occurrence among office workers, often caused by long hours at a computer screen. There are several reasons why this can happen, including eye strain, neck tension, and poor posture. When you stare at a computer screen for an extended period, your eyes become fatigued, leading to a headache. Similarly, if you hold your head in a forward posture for an extended period, it can lead to neck tension, which can also trigger a headache.

To prevent and manage headaches, take regular breaks and adjust your workspace accordingly. Ensure that your computer screen is at a comfortable distance and your eyes are aligned with the top of the screen. Additionally, ensure that your chair and desk are at an appropriate height so you don't have to strain your neck to look at the screen.

An OHC can advise on proper lighting, eyewear, and workstation set-up to prevent eyestrain and reduce headache frequency. They can help you do neck and shoulder stretches during breaks to relieve tension.


Back Pain

Sitting for extended periods can cause significant strain on the lower back, leading to chronic pain and discomfort. To prevent and manage back pain, take regular breaks and move around. Stretch your legs every 30 minutes between your working hours.

You can also do simple exercises like squats, lunges, and twists to relieve pressure on your lower back. Make sure that your chair is ergonomic and provides adequate lumbar support. You can also use a standing desk for a part of the day to reduce the time you spend sitting. An OHC can recommend proper posture and seating adjustments, as well as provide exercises to prevent and alleviate back pain.


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Staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods can lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, and eyestrain. An OHC can help you with antiglare glasses or provide advice on adjusting lighting and screen position to reduce eyestrain.



The average office is 400 times dirtier than lavatories, believe it or not. Desks are rampant with germs caused by food, stationary and electronics that aren’t regularly cleaned. Working in an office setting means being exposed to a higher number of germs and bacteria. An OHC can provide education on proper hygiene practices and preventative measures to reduce the risk of infection.


Exposure to Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Electric and Magnetic Fields

Workplace equipment and electronics can emit ELF radiation, leading to long-term health concerns. Limiting the use of computers and phones is the best solution; however, this can be challenging at work. It’s best to have a no-screens policy when you get home, to give your mind and body some much-needed rest.


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Obesity and Heart disease: Weight problems associated with a desk job are caused by a lack of movement, which slows down the metabolism. A slower metabolism leads to a greater accumulation of fat, weight gain, and other ailments.

Obesity is a main factor in increased LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, blood clotting and other medical conditions. It can also affect your muscles and posture, resulting in a downward spiral of a healthy mind and body. OHCs provide wellness programs, advice on proper nutrition and exercise, and assist in creating a culture of well-being within the workplace.


Posture Problems: Poor posture can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and reduced productivity. OHC can provide ergonomic assessments and education on proper posture, exercises, and seating adjustments to prevent and alleviate posture-related problems.


Stress/Burnout: High-stress work environments can lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression. OHC on-demand mental support can help you manage mental health through stress-reduction techniques and help foster a positive work environment.

Working at a desk for prolonged periods can lead to a variety of health concerns, but with proper education, assessments, and preventative measures, an OHC can help mitigate and prevent these problems, creating a healthier and more productive work environment.


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With the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you are able to bring your whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.

Click here to learn more about the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme and unlock better health.





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