The Medical Consequences of Working a Full-Time Desk Job

Human bodies are not built to live a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies were designed for regular movement. On average, American adults spend 9 to 10 hours every day sitting. Living a sedentary lifestyle can have drastic consequences on our mental and physical health, making us more at risk for conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Here are some consequences and warning signs that you need to get up and move:

Back and Hip Pain

Moving around gives our vertebrae room to breathe, expand, and contract. Movement allows our spine to soak up nutrients that are essential for our health. Sitting for an extended period can cause our vertebrae to be pressed together unevenly, causing collagen to harden around our tendons and ligaments, which in turn causes back pain. The added stress onto the back has a direct relationship with our hips. Our hips are then put under so much pressure that we experience hip pain as well.

The occupational health services at Immediate Medical Care on NASA Parkway can give you a proper back evaluation to determine your back health.

 Strained Neck

Almost instinctively, people tend to crank their neck forward towards the screen and keyboard while sitting at a desk or even looking down towards a cell phone. This consistent movement of the vertebrae can lead to neck issues, including a strained neck. These strains can eventually lead to permanent disproportions.

Carpal Tunnel

Although it has not been proven, carpal tunnel syndrome could be a result of extended sitting and keyboard use. Any repetitive or forceful movement of the hands or wrists can cause carpal tunnel. Whether you are working with small instruments, typing, knitting, sanding, or using something repetitively, you could be at risk.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Sitting for a long period of time decreases circulation to your legs and feet, causing fluids to pool in the legs. Issues caused by this range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Inactivity also causes your leg bones to become weaker, increasing the chance to develop osteoporosis.

What Can You Do?

  • Experts recommend stretching daily to help prevent a wide range of conditions and to get the blood flowing throughout the body.
  • Get up and walk around the office or outside on your break to get your blood flowing
  • Sitting on a yoga ball or wobbly object to help strengthen the core
  • Asking your supervisor for a standing desk so that you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day
  • Paying attention to your posture throughout the day, are you slumping as the day goes on? Is your back straight?

Do I Have a Cold or Hay Fever?

There are very similar symptoms when it comes to having a cold or allergies. However, knowing the difference between the two conditions is essential to choosing the right course of treatment. Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, can cause you to have itchy eyes, stuffy or runny nose and other symptoms that easily resemble the symptoms of the common cold. However, here are a few tips on how to tell the difference.

The Common Cold

These two bothersome conditions cause several of the same symptoms. These symptoms include coughing and a stuffed-up nose. However, they certainly have different causes. With the common cold, the symptoms are brought up because your immune system is launching a counter attack on an invading virus. These viruses are contagious and can be picked up from someone else through sneezes, coughs or physical contact of any sort.

These symptoms should only last a maximum of a few weeks, until your body is able to completely fend off the virus.

Hay Fever (Seasonal Allergies)

However, your seasonal allergies have an entirely different cause. Everyday contaminants such as dust, dander and pollen are mistaken for invading germs and your body’s natural reaction is to attack them. During this attack on harmless allergens, your body releases a chemical called a histamine – inducing undesirable symptoms that are similar to the common cold (coughing, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes). This is why doctors will recommend allergy-sufferers to use an anti-histamine medication to counteract the body’s natural response.

Unlike the common cold, allergies are not contagious because there is no virus to spread to others. Allergies tend to be a genetic reaction to everyday airborne allergens.

Trait Cold Allergy
How long do symptoms last? 3-14 days Days to months – as long as your body is exposed to the allergen causing the reaction.
When would I get symptoms? Colds are most common in the winter but if you are exposed to the virus, contraction is possible at any time. Any time of year – although the allergens may be seasonal
Incubation Periods Symptoms will take a few days to show up after being infected. Symptoms will begin immediately after exposure to the triggering allergen.


Waiting in the Emergency Room?

Emergency room wait times have been an issue since the early 2000’s.  Patients, from those suffering from fevers to broken bones, are forced to sit in waiting rooms while the staff handles other patients and tasks.  The small but heavily equipped clinics like Immediate Medical Care are the solution.  We can take care of any non-emergency issue instead of your having to wait for hours at the ER and then paying their huge bills.

Minor sports injuries, fractures, lacerations, burns, are ideal situations for you’re to visit us instead of the ER but we also handle many other types of injuries and illnesses.  In addition, we offer occupational healthcare, wellness care, and family services like routine checkups and school physicals.    IMG_6627.JPG

Don’t pay ER fees for non-emergency room care.  We gladly accept most major insurance carriers, HMOs, and PPOs.  Visit our website and see our numerous locations including our Clear Lake office.