How to Deal with Workplace Aches and Pains

Is your job quite literally a pain in the neck? Do you finish the working day aching or feeling tense? Well, when it comes to the workplace, there are plenty of things that can cause aches and pains. Here are some of the most common ailments:

Dehydration, poor lighting, tiredness, and bad posture can all cause headaches. You may be able to deal with an occasional headache by taking painkillers but if you are suffering from headaches on a daily basis, it’s important to identify the cause. Taking too many painkillers on a regular or long-term basis can be very harmful. 

Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a term used to describe pain caused by repetitive actions – i.e. repeating the same action over a long period of time. It can cause pain in the muscles, nerves and tendons and most commonly affects parts of the upper body such as elbows, wrists, neck and shoulders.

According to the NHS (, one worker in 50 in the UK has reported an RSI condition.

RSI can affect both office workers using computer equipment and manual workers where physical jobs call for repetitive actions over long periods.                                                                                       

Back pain can be caused by many different factors including lifting heavy or bulky items, performing repetitive actions that put a strain on your back, long-distance driving or poor posture when sitting. Even with good posture, osteopaths advise that sitting for long periods of time can cause problems as the human body isn’t designed to sit in one position for several hours each day.

Stress-related symptoms
If you are suffering from stress, it can cause all kinds of unpleasant symptoms from stomach ache and an inability to concentrate to headaches and muscle tension. As stress often builds up over time, it can sometimes be difficult to recognise that physical ailments are actually caused by stress and anxiety. And when you start to feel ill, it can become more difficult to tackle the causes of stress.

What’s the solution?
So what can you do about these workplace hazards when they start causing you aches and pains?

The first step is to see what changes you can make by yourself. For example, simply taking a screen break every half hour and drinking plenty of water could combat headaches whilst repositioning your chair could solve backache.

But if you work in an environment where it isn’t possible to make changes yourself, or if you are suffering from more severe problems, you should talk to your manager. Every company should have a health and safety policy in place to ensure that the wellness of staff is upheld. Your firm may be willing to invest in modified equipment or office furniture to make you more comfortable.

If stress is the cause of your problems, again you should talk to your manager or HR department. They may be able to find ways to help you deal with the stress you are facing and help you feel healthy again.

For more information about health and safety at work, visit the Health and Safety Executive website:


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