American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Pain Prevention & Productivity Primer

Five Habits to Stop and Five Activities to Start

Many American office workers have resigned themselves to living with pain because they believe it’s normal. A recent survey by the AOA found that 2 in 3 office workers have experienced pain in the last six months. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 office workers believe it’s just a standard part of working in an office.

But pain is never normal, and shouldn’t be ignored as it can create a debilitating cycle that results in chronic, or reoccurring pain. Rob Danoff, DO, an osteopathic family physician, offers five habits office workers should stop committing and five activities they should start doing to help prevent and alleviate pain:


  1. Believing your pain is just a normal part of working in an office.

  2. Ignoring your pain and waiting for it to go away by itself.  

  3. Ignoring your body’s need for physical activity while in the office and at home.

  4. Sitting for hours at a time without getting up from your desk.

  5. Delaying seeing a physician for diagnosis or treatment of your pain.


  1. Taking a closer look at how you sit at your desk. (See our "At Your Desk" Makeover Tips)

  2. Setting an alert on your calendar or phone to take stretch breaks every 30 minutes.

  3. Walking to a colleague’s desk to speak with him/her in person, instead of emailing or calling.

  4. Keeping a record of your pain by noting when it occurs and recording what you’re doing and what you did to relieve it. (See our Pain Assessment and Daily Journal)

  5. Talking with your physician about your pain and working with him/her to develop an individualized treatment plan that fits your treatment needs and lifestyle.


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