So many people find themselves tied to a desk at work. After years of poor posture and other health concerns, chronic pain issues can develop. Back and feet pains are among the most common types of pain people can experience at work. If it gets bad enough, it can even prevent them from working.

Chronic pain can have neurological symptoms as well, including attention impairment, short-term memory loss, impairment of social skills, and poor judgment. Harvard Medical Center reports chronic pain also affects mood disorders like anxiety, depression, coping skills, and sleeping difficulties. Overall, chronic pain causes more than physical harm but can also play a huge role in work performance.

So, what can you do to mitigate the pain? Here we address different options to alleviate pain at work.

What Causes Pain

The biggest factor in back, neck, and feet pain is how the body is positioned throughout the day. Slouching forward, standing too long at work, holding the phone between your shoulder and ear, and lack of movement—all of these will cause pain.

Fortunately, there are some great tips and cool equipment you can use at work to alleviate and manage pain.

Custom Shoes Designed for Work

If your job requires a lot of standing, you might find yourself with lower back and feet pain. Walking around constantly with the wrong kind of shoes or poor support will make your day stretch even longer. Certain shoe brands, such as Orthofeet, have been developed specifically for foot health. Nowadays, you’ll find lots of sites popping up that are dedicated to reviewing shoes that promote foot health. One such example is the StandingShoes site, run by Sarah Shawman. She’s one of many people that are emphasizing the increasing importance of good foot support, in a world where we have to work longer and longer hours every year.

Shoes for alleviating pain should provide:

  • Support
  • Cushion
  • Room
  • Traction

Support and cushion will provide comfort to help with standing for long periods.
Leaving a little room allows you to walk without feeling constricted. It is likely your feet will swell throughout the day if you are standing for too long. So, if you leave some wiggle-room in your shoes, you can handle the swelling.

Traction prevents your feet from sliding across the room, so you can leave tread to stand firmly all day long.

Desk Chair for Success

The act of leaning forward in a desk chair can put a strain on your neck while crushing disks in your lower back. There are a few things you can do to protect your lower back.

Support the natural curve of your spine by sitting in a chair with lumbar support. Office chairs should have a natural forward curve around the belly button level. If not, you can put a rolled-up towel or pillow behind your back to accomplish this.

Adjust the chair height so your feet are always flat, and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. If needed, use a prop like a footrest for extra support.

Remove or lower armrests to keep your feet at a 90-degree angle, which will keep your shoulders low and help your upper back.

The monitor should be kept about an arm’s length away or below eye level to encourage proper posture without leaning forward and straining your neck.

Optimize Phone Calls

It is tempting to hold the phone between your head and shoulder to keep your hands free while talking on the phone. However, this will cause shoulder and neck pain very quickly.
There are alternatives to holding the phone during conversations without causing pain.

Use a headset or speakerphone for calls longer than five minutes or if you need to take notes. This allows you to be hands-free without developing chronic pain.

Hold the phone in your hand while switching between the left and right sides throughout the call. This lets you avoid placing pressure on your neck and shoulders.

Move Around

People need to move, but office work can inhibit this. Sitting or standing in one position for an eight-hour workday will wreak havoc on your physical health. Ideally, you should have 20 minutes or more of movement in the workday. To accomplish this, try the following.

Take breaks, or micro-breaks, once every hour to grab water, use the restroom, say hi to a co-worker, or simply stretch. Sitting for an extended period can weaken back muscles. All it takes is a minimum of 60 seconds of stretching to offset those negative effects.

Alternate between standing and sitting, so you spend more time standing at work. You can even work with your office to invest in a sit-stand workstation to get that alternation without messing with work production.

Strengthen core muscles with exercises like Pilates, sit-ups, or yoga. These activities will work your stomach and back muscles. This will improve posture and reduces pain over time.

Talk to a Doctor

If the pain persists and interferes with work, you should visit a doctor. Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting longer than three months. It is quite common after working eight-hour workdays for so long. A doctor can help you identify resources to help alleviate pain, such as physical therapy, orthopedic inserts, medical massages, and more.


Discomfort and pain might be a hazard of your job, but it’s not a condition you have to endure. Try the following tips above and develop a workplace routine that prioritizes your health and wellbeing.