Do Compression Socks Help Office Workers?
Did you know that people have been using compression therapy on their legs for hundreds of years? Originally, these garments were used to treat soldiers recovering from injuries and civilians recovering from illnesses. Still, they were combatting a lot of the same symptoms that office workers experience today.
Not everyone who spends most of their day sitting is an office worker, though. Other positions that require hours of sitting at a time include truck drivers, cashiers, pilots, air traffic controllers, and crane and forklift operators. Remember: just because you spend a lot of time sitting doesn't mean you're not at risk for job-related injuries, especially when it comes to the veins in your legs and your cardiovascular health! Wear compression socks to prevent general achiness, orthostatic hypotension, cardiovascular disease, and blood clots.
Most people know the aches that come when they stand up for the first time after hours of sitting, especially if those people have taken a long flight, train ride, or car trip. Proper blood flow in your legs can help prevent soreness since it's typically associated with stiff or inflamed muscles. Blood carries oxygen to your muscles, and by making sure your muscles are receiving all the oxygen they need via boosted blood circulation, you're allowing them to recover faster. The relief from the soreness that compression socks offer nurses and doctors who work 16-hour shifts, as well as marathon runners, is also available to office workers who spend most of their workdays at a desk.
Orthostatic Hypotension (dizzy spells)
Another problem that doesn't get as much attention but is still associated with sitting for too long is orthostatic hypotension, also referred to as postural hypotension. It's a type of low blood pressure that can cause those dizzy or lightheaded spells a lot of us experience when we've been sitting or lying down for too long and then try to stand. A lot of different things can cause orthostatic hypotension, like dehydration, low blood sugar, overheating, etc. When you've been sitting down for too long, though, and all that blood has pooled in your legs without circulating enough back up to your heart, your blood pressure drops, and you may experience intense dizziness or even fainting. Compression socks can fight off these symptoms by stimulating that proper blood circulation that helps keep your blood pressure at a normal, healthy level.
Did you know that one of the leading causes of death in American adults is cardiovascular disease? Unfortunately, with the rise of obesity in our culture, we've also seen an overall decline in willingness to exercise and stick to a healthy diet. Sitting for too long, especially when coupled with a poorly balanced diet, causes your blood circulation to slow and fatty acids to build up in your blood vessels. Our bodies are supposed to burn those fatty acids naturally, but when there becomes too much of them, we run the risk of increasing our blood pressure to unhealthy levels and building resistance to insulin, which in turn causes diabetes. Compression socks are NOT a replacement for exercise, but they do help keep those fatty acids from building up in the first place by improving your overall blood circulation.
Most people know that compression socks are beneficial for people who work on their feet all day, but in the same way that those employees overwork the veins in their legs, workers who sit at a desk all day UNDERwork the veins in their legs. When you spend many hours a day sitting, blood can pool in your legs. Compression socks help stimulate proper blood flow between the feet and the heart even when the wearer isn't walking around.
Veins that don't get proper circulation are more prone to developing blood clots also referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A blood clot is a mass of blood cells, and those masses form when blood is circulating too slowly or just isn't circulating properly. Because compression socks stimulate proper blood flow, they prevent blood clots from forming in the first place.
Blood clots aren't anything to play around with, and the longer a person sits without moving, the greater their risk of developing a blood clot becomes. Worst case scenario, a blood clot can turn into a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot that travels to your lungs. If you work a desk job, take charge of your health before all those hours of sitting sneak up on you and put your life at risk. You can also prevent blood clots in other ways, like exercising regularly, shifting your sitting position often, reducing your salt intake, taking breaks to get up and walk around, and spending less time sitting with your legs crossed.
Certain factors contribute to the likelihood that any person will develop DVT. Some of these include age, weight, pregnancy, and medical history. If you identify with one or more of the bullet points listed below and you work an office job, you should seriously consider purchasing a pair of compression socks. Even if you DON'T fit any of these descriptions, though, remember that anyone can develop DVT and that no one is immune to the risk of blood clots:Over the age of 50 Overweight/obese Experienced a blood clot in the past Family history of blood clots Pregnant
Tips and Summary
The pressure of compression that office workers should look for in their compression socks will depend more on the state of their veins and their medical history than anything else, but if you're an office worker who hasn't had any problems with your veins before, you'd probably do well with a mild, graduated compression of about 15-20 mmHg.
If you're considering buying compression socks for the first time, remember some of the amazing and life-altering benefits that office workers can enjoy by wearing compression socks:Better circulation Less leg swelling Less blood pooling in your legs Decreased soreness and pain, especially from varicose veins Supports muscles and joints Relieve spells of dizziness/lightheadedness associated with orthostatic hypotension
While there are very few negative side effects that come with wearing compression socks, people with certain medical conditions could be harmed by wearing them. If you're unsure if compression socks are right for you, reach out to your doctor for medical advice. To get the best results from your compression socks, don't wait until you start feeling the aches and pains in your legs. Go ahead and get yourself a pair (or two) today and take charge of your health and your future!