So, this week a couple of my professors were discussing chronic back pain. They said this was a common ailment faced by academics because of the constant sitting/writing/reading. One of them now has a desk that allows him to stand up all the time because sitting down hurts too much.
I was surprised to learn this, and honestly had not considered physical health risks associated with being an academic. Some of the risks associated with office work seem easily applicable for academics:
1.) Carpal Tunnel – Writing constant articles, books, book chapters, conference presentation reports, emails, etc.
2.) Lower Back Pain – Sitting while writing, reading, and grading.
3.) Bacteria on the Desk – Many professors probably clean their desk, um… never?
4.) Other Joint Problems – Sitting constantly.
5.) Eyestrain – Reading and grading tests, reading student essays/papers, entering grades into a spreadsheet, reading journal articles and books, writing journal articles and book. I actually experienced this my first term in grad school because I had to read between 400 to 600 pages a week for my classes, not including grading.
6.) Stressful Situations – Decreased college funding, students trying to negotiate for a higher grade, low professor salaries for the hours actually worked, trying to get tenure, and larger class sizes (lecturing to 400 or more students), etc.
In addition, many professors (and students working on their dissertations), can have stretches of work weeks where they spend more than 8 hours a day working. Long work days have been linked with heart disease because of the stress and poor diets.
I am training for a marathon, so that helps somewhat. And my next term I only have one class which will free up time to work on my masters paper. But my lunchtime meals could use improvement for health reasons. So, what health risks are associated with your job? Are you even aware of health risks associated with your job?