Calling all desk based workers – is your posture causing you pain?
For the vast majority of us, we spend long hours chained to our desks which results in sedentary, inactive lifestyles. It is no wonder many of us are not doing enough exercise when we are sucked into our computer screens, trying to squeeze that last bit of work in.
Many jobs in todays society are desk based.
Many of us suffer with upper back, neck and shoulder or lower back pain as a result, to name just a few ailments.
Add poor posture from typing or holding a mouse incorrectly over prolonged periods of time and we can develop many repetitive strain injuries.
A gentlemen I saw in A&E with severe neck pain and raging nerve pain into his right arm knew that the cause was due to his bad sitting posture at his desk for prolonged periods of time. It wasn’t until his body physically cried out in agony that he realised he needed to do something about it.
Our bodies are amazing things.
But, our bodies were designed to MOVE.
Our bodies will let us know when they are not happy with aches and pains or tightness felt in our muscles or stiffness in our joints. Chances are if you experience the above symptoms your body is warning you and trying to help you to recognise bad movement postures and positions.
Sometimes if we have sat awkwardly, its not until we try to get up and walk that the pain hits us quite sharply. It’s almost like a slap across the face with the intensity at times. If you listen to your body it is always whispering to you.
I’m aching, move me.
I’m numb, move me.
I’m in agony – time to go and see a health care professional!
So its really interesting to note that just a few postural tweaks can make a HUGE difference to your body.
So – where to start?
Your head is as good a place as any.
Where is it in space in relation to your body – use a mirror to glance sideways and check if you can.
My guess would be its in front of your shoulders.
Your head needs to be on top of your shoulders.
Sounds so simple, right?
Many of us hold our heads forwards away from our shoulders as we get almost drawn into our computer screen. We gravitate towards our desk.
Your head is heavy and weighs 6% of your total body weight and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that your tiny neck muscles are not designed to withstand that amount of weight.
Cue, your upper shoulder muscles rising up towards your ears to help your neck muscles support the weight of your head. So now potentially we are creating tension headaches that refer from your upper shoulders up around your skull into your eye socket.
Alter your posture. Reduce your headaches and muscle tightness in the back of your neck and upper shoulder region.
So how do we do this?
Anyone can place their head on top of their body – but the problem is – keeping it there.
We get lazy and we let gravity draw our heads forwards and its not potentially until symptoms of discomfort occur or a headache we realise somethings not right.
You need to learn to become BODY AWARE.
Aware of your head position in relation to your body THROUGHOUT your working day.
Once you notice your head is in front of your body – place it back on top of your shoulders.
Then give yourself a mental CONGRATULATIONS for recognising this and correcting it.
You are well on your way to improving your posture and reducing your aches and pains.
Other postural tips to look out for in sitting are your shoulders creeping up to your ears.
Gently push them back down towards your lower back each time you realise they have risen.
Keep your collar bones wide – don’t allow your shoulders to round and hunch forwards.
This contributes to a lot of upper shoulder and neck pain.
Sit with equal weight on your pelvis.
How many times a day do you cross your legs or your ankles? Each time you cause asymmetry in your pelvis you are adding to ligament and muscles strains to one side of your body.
Also take care to keep your spine in it’s natural “S” shaped curves – try to avoid the slouching “C” shaped spine we all so often adopt in comfy chairs. You may need a back support in your chair to help maintain this or a small cushion in your lower back.
The above are just a few postural alterations that will massively help you reduce aches and pains you get from sitting for long periods of time awkwardly.
The BEST thing you can do though – is GET UP AND MOVE AROUND.
Go for a walk in your lunch break that you take away from your desk.
Stand up to go chat to the person across the office instead of using the phone.
Hold stand up meetings if possible or try working for periods of time at a stand up desk.
There are many things to consider about your chair height, desk set up, computer screen height, your hand position as you type and more.
My new online programme THE DESK RESCUER – HOW TO UNWIND YOUR DAMAGE covers all of the above in great detail.
We look at the ergonomic set up of your desk and ways to improve it, your sitting posture is covered in a lot more depth, how to reduce your aches and pains and many tips on how to get moving. It also gives you reminders to help you to move more followed by some exercises you can do at your desk and exercises you can do in your working day away from your desk at the wall for example.
If you would like more information about this online programme and would like to receive a FREE video about how to improve your sitting posture at your desk then please click <<<here>>>. You will be the first to know when the programme is ready to launch and receive an early bird price offer.