How do I avoid a headache while concentrating

Headaches in the office - these are the causes

In the modern service society, VDU workstations have become indispensable. Many people spend eight, nine or more hours in the office, writing e-mails, working with ERP systems or creating Excel lists.

Unfortunately, a side effect of working on the computer has meanwhile become a widespread disease: headaches are the frequent result of long working hours.

Headaches, if they occur regularly or even chronically, should by no means be dismissed as trivialities - because they are serious warning signals from our body! If you are affected by pulling, pressing or drilling pains in the head area several times a week, the working conditions should definitely be checked.

Because headaches are not something that you just have to put up with - headaches in the office can be actively combated!

Triggers headache at work

The wrong sitting posture is often a trigger for headaches / Photo: /

Frequently occurring headaches are the result of an incorrect sitting posture. Sitting for hours without compensating movement triggers tension in the cervical area. These tensions impair the transmission of stimuli in the nervous system - and the body reacts with a headache.

A workstation that is not very ergonomically designed is just as detrimental as an incorrect sitting posture. Desks that are too high or too low, office chairs that force you into an unnatural position, or a misaligned screen must be considered as triggers for constant headaches.

A pronounced lack of fluids also results in headaches. If you are the only liquid to drink coffee during a long day at work, you have to expect a rebellious body and the corresponding warning signals.

Bad air can also be a trigger for headaches in the office, especially in winter. If the room is not ventilated regularly because of the low outside temperatures, the oxygen content in the surrounding air will drop. This not only makes you tired, but also causes excruciating headaches. Emissions that are emitted in particular by laser printers should also not be underestimated. The smallest particles, ozone and toner residues are extremely stressful for our body.

Unfortunately, fluorescent tubes are still used far too often in offices as lighting for the workplace. These tubes may light up the room - but they are anything but pleasant. The light spectrum of the fluorescent tubes is extremely unnatural, can quickly tire the eyes - and can cause severe headaches in sensitive people!

How does a headache affect performance?

Headaches affect performance. / Photo: denisismagilov /

Sure - those who suffer from pain remain far behind their actual capacities. If every look at the monitor hurts, if your thoughts only revolve around where to get the next painkiller, then there is not much room left for proper work performance.

The drop in performance is not only a personal problem for the employee, but has a long-term effect on the entire company. Underperformers are not very productive, can ruin the working atmosphere and even damage relationships with customers and suppliers. Reason enough to actively tackle headaches!

How long can you concentrate and work without getting a headache?

Basically, the duration of concentrated work always depends on the influences of the environment and how you deal with your own body.

If you sit down at your desk at eight o'clock in the morning and work until noon without a break, without food or water, your body will warn you by then at the latest - unfortunately mostly with pain.

A calibrated, high-resolution screen reduces the risk of headaches. / Photo: MuzzyCo /

Persistent sitting without a break also almost always results in a drop in performance - after all, people are not made to sit! Inexpensive keyboards that force the hands into an unnatural position and poorly calibrated monitors do the rest to send office workers on sick leave with severe headaches.

By the way, far too little importance is attached to the screen! The better this is calibrated and the higher the quality of the LEDs used, the longer you can work in front of the devices without getting tired.

In principle, it is easily possible to do one's work eight to ten hours a day in front of the screen. But only if you allow yourself at least a five-minute break every hour - and use this to actively counteract the stress.

What can I do myself against headaches in the office?

The most important of all rules is: take a break. The more often you can relax your eyes, muscles, and mind, the less likely you will experience headaches. A simple yet effective exercise to counter tension in the neck area and thus headaches is even possible directly at the workplace.

To do this, cross your hands at the back of your head and push your head backwards. The hands should be able to absorb the pressure. Hold this position for 60 seconds. Then bend your head far forward towards your chest. This exercise loosens all muscle regions in the shoulder area - and counteracts any tension extremely effectively.

Tension can lead to headaches. / Photo: Picture-Factory /

Another tip: Do as many tasks as possible that you can solve from the screen. Make copies, take mail away or dispose of the waste paper - every minute that you do not look at the monitor is a minute of relaxation for your eyes. Use the short distances for stretching and stretching exercises. You will immediately feel a lot fresher!

Even if your colleagues are protesting in winter: Open the window regularly and ensure a constant exchange of air. Used air not only lowers concentration - it is one of the main causes of headaches in the workplace!

How can bosses and supervisors provide support?

It should be a matter close to the heart of every employer that employees can do their work productively - after all, the well-being of the entire company depends not least on motivated, healthy employees. Therefore, managers should always be involved if chronic headaches reduce productivity.

An important tool in the fight against headache is the ergonomic design of workplaces. In addition to high-quality screens (which, by the way, should be replaced regularly after five years at the latest), ergonomic peripherals such as a mouse and keyboard are essential.

The right lighting also plays an important role in avoiding headaches. / Photo: peshkova /

Seating furniture should be designed in such a way that it encourages the body to move even in the unnatural sitting posture. Special armchairs with joints that can be moved in all axes adapt to the movements of the body and thus effectively counteract tension.

The work area lighting should be chosen so that neither light reflections occur in the field of vision, nor can the bright color spectrum have a negative effect on the eyes. Warm white LED lights on the ceiling are ideal here. These lamps come very close to natural daylight - and are also very economical to use.

Regular massages by mobile office massage teams are also a very useful addition to ergonomic workplace design. Anyone who is properly kneaded during the lunch break can then continue working in a relaxed manner.


Headaches have an enormous impact on work performance and should always be understood as a warning signal from the body. Anyone who relies solely on the effect of painkillers here fails to recognize the danger that can be inherent in the excruciating pain.

With simple methods and exercises, every employee can actively tackle tension and headaches. In addition, you should always seek a conversation with your superiors!

After all, an average office worker spends 160 hours a month at his desk - an optimal, ergonomic design of the workplace is a must. If you are chronically plagued by headaches, a visit to a doctor is strongly recommended.

In addition to wrong working conditions, stress and overwork, there can also be deeper causes behind the excruciating pain. So it is better to see a doctor once too much than too little!

The article "Headaches in the office - these are the causes" was written by:

Stephan Forstmann

Expert for home office and healthy office work

Stephan originally comes from beautiful Dresden and has been an integral part of the office furniture expert's editorial team since 2009.

Stephan has been working in the home office since 2013 and has since become an expert in this field. He passes on his experiences, tips and best practices in the form of tutorials and articles in the guide.

In addition to the topic of home office, he deals daily with the topic of healthy office work and ergonomics.

You can find more articles by Stephan, for example, on or Abenteuer Home Office.

In his private life, Stephan loves and lives photography. You can talk to him for days about camera technology, composition and image design. He also regularly writes tutorials for photography.

If you would like to get in contact with Stephan, you are welcome to write him an email: [email protected]

View all contributions from the author