If you're one of many people who sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day while staring at a computer screen, you likely have noticed body tightness. It could be in your shoulders, neck, back, or other areas of your body. Once you form your desk habits, they can be hard to break – but if you don't act, your current aches could become sources of pain in the future. By investing in your health and desk habits now, you can help your body maintain strength and mobility in a way that may affect more than you realize.
Imagine holding a bowling ball over your head for 5 minutes, with your arms completely straight. It wouldn't be too difficult. Now, try holding the ball out in front of your body even with your shoulders. This would be extremely difficult to do for even 10 seconds. The bowling ball is your head, and the position you're holding it in is how your head is positioned while you're working at your desk. Take a moment to evaluate yourself. As you read this, is your head sticking out beyond your shoulders? Or is it sitting perfectly on top of your shoulders? What we want to see is the second option, but it may take some time to get to that point.
You've probably heard this a million times, but sitting posture is incredibly important. Poor posture leads to muscle imbalances and pain. When sitting in a chair at your desk, make sure the chair is upright and that you don't find yourself pushing your spine into the back of the chair excessively.
Many people tend to slouch forward when seated – especially while sitting at their desks for long periods. One way to minimize this is to keep your shoulder blades in contact with the back of the chair. This pulls your shoulders back and can begin the corrective process. Keep in mind, this change is not easy to make. It will require dedication to affectively correct your shoulder position.
How much sitting is too much? It's so easy to sit down at your desk and not move for hours until you finish a project. While it's great for productivity, it's not so good for your health. We recommend that you stand up and/or walk around every 30 minutes to keep your body in good shape. If you have a standing desk, this would be a great time to use it!
You may not realize it, but your monitor(s) could be positioned in a way that requires you to look down or up at them. Neither of these scenarios are ideal. If possible, adjust your desk or monitors so that they are directly eye level, allowing your head to stay in a neutral position.
When you're experiencing discomfort or stiffness while sitting at your desk, you may want to overstretch to relieve pain. You're certainly moving in the right direction, but intense, non-targeted stretches likely won't relieve pain long term. When you come into the office, I can give you specific stretches that help you strengthen your body in a way that will relieve pain.
Everyone has a different way to sit that feels most comfortable to them. However, what is most comfortable at the moment may not be most beneficial in the long run. To help with your alignment, sit with both feet flat on the floor. Crossing your legs or propping your feet up forces your hips into a twisted position which is likely to cause pain both now and in the future.
Determining what daily exercises work for you is crucial to your health. The same thing doesn't work for everyone but finding ways to get active can help your body respond better in an office/desk situation.
What do I do to help my sedentary patients? I restore range of motion and mobilize joints. During every treatment, I find out which areas are over or underactive, which tells me which muscles need ART, and which joints need to be adjusted. Once the painful and tender spots are identified, I massage and stretch them until they feel better. I then pop the patient's bones, ultimately giving them a painless release.
If you're sitting at a desk all day, I urge you to work towards correcting posture and implementing the seven goals we discussed within this blog. To start your journey towards pain relief, click the button below to schedule an appointment!