Many jobs come with health risks. Most problems arise from improper posture, repeating the same motions or simply sitting all day.
An office worker is at his desk for about eight hours, often staring at the computer screen. His main physical activities include walking to the toilet, going out for lunch and attending the occasional staff meeting.
Repeated use of the computer mouse can lead to wrist and finger problems, while poor posture can take a toll on the body.
Such workers often have neck, shoulder, lower back and buttock pain. Sometimes, there is numbness in the hands and fingers, and even leg and calf pain caused by lower back problems, say pain specialists. Besides the physical stresses, job stress too can cause neck and shoulder muscles to tense, leading to spasms.
Hence, management-level workers tend to have more neck pain than back pain, doctors observe. Some workers, such as pregnant women, should avoid sitting at their desks for long periods of time.
Doing so increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition where clots form in the leg veins. Pregnant women should do leg exercises regularly while sitting and take short walks at least once every hour.
In general, doctors advise office workers to take a few minutes’ break from their desk every hour. Workers should also check their sitting posture and make sure their chair, table and computer screen are at a suitable height so that their backs are straight, their eyes are levelled with the computer and their wrists are resting on the table. Having support for the wrists and a comfortable mouse size can reduce hand and wrist strain.
In addition, proper lighting and computer screen brightness can reduce the strain on the eyes. People who spend long hours in front of the computer can get eye fatigue, strained or dry eyes. These can be managed by taking breaks and using lubricating eyedrops.
A taxi driver is sometimes at the wheel for more than 12 hours a day. In the cab, there is little room for stretching and he has to stay alert all the time. This sedentary job causes the back muscles to weaken. As a result, cabbies are more at risk of lower back pain and should do back strengthening exercises.
Prolonged periods of sitting also hinder proper blood flow and can cause blood clots to form in the leg veins. The clots may then block blood flow to and from the heart and lungs with serious consequences. Doctors note that cabbies tend to do little exercise, making them prone to unhealthy weight gain.
Doctors advise those who drive all the time to take frequent breaks outside the vehicle and not just sit in the cab while resting. Chatting with passengers does help the cabby to stay alert and stave off boredom.