Office work will become much less of a pain in the neck if Julie Côté has her way.
Côté, a kinesiology researcher who teaches at McGill University, is interested in finding ways to reduce or even prevent the kinds of muscular and skeletal stresses and pains that will affect one in ten office workers at some point in their careers.
“Even though office workers may not naturally see it that way, their body is basically their work instrument, just as it is for an athlete,” says Côté. “It can get injured in similar ways and for similar reasons: overuse of certain muscles.”
One of her current experiments involves looking at treadmill workstations.
“These workstations may be good for getting people moving and losing weight,” says Côté, “but no one has looked into how this kind of posture affects the muscles in the neck, shoulders and lower back.”
“Whether you’re a computer worker or a middle-distance runner, injuries happen when you tense a particular muscle or group of muscles for too long, and the blood can`t flow into the region as it should and regenerate the muscles,” says Côté. “Bodies are made to move.”
Her solution to reducing muscle pain for office workers is simple: minor movements and adjustments of position every few minutes.