Do You Work From a Desk?
In our society, business is most often conducted from the seat of a chair. Whether in front of a computer, a desk, a phone, or on an airplane, the fact of the matter is that a lot of people’s jobs require them to sit in one position for extended periods of time.
How Is My Job Affecting My Body Posture?
Sitting in one position can cause many problems when it comes to your body. Muscles and joints require movement to function so when you sit in a desk chair for up to nine hours a day, stress can accumulate and compact your body causing aches and pains. For most people who conduct the majority of their business from a desk, by the end of the day headaches or stress tension in the shoulders is a familiar sense as are migraines, neck aches, and stiffness in the wrists.
Other health related issues that stem from “desk job posture” are:
• Build-up of excess body fat storage and obesity
• Higher than average blood pressure
• Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
• Neck and spine alignment issues
• Elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Fortunately, massage is a great way to address this host of issues by reinforcing the natural movements of your body that have been missing over the course of the day.
Massage also promotes circulation of both blood and lymph in your body to help boost your immune system and digestive functioning, which can help you feel more energized and focused.
Is There Anything Else That Can Improve My Body Posture?
Another way to combat desk fatigue is by getting up and making a point of moving every day and even every hour when at your desk. By introducing more exercise into your work routine, like a walk around the block, a post-work gym visit, or even a lunchtime yoga class, you can help your body retain better posture and help yourself feel better while taking on that mountain of work. Other suggestions include parking far away in the parking garage, never taking the elevator, or even doing a few push ups every time you get off the phone. And of course there are regular massage treatments that can be a great way to treat the unique aches and pains you face in life and help you take on healthier, more balanced work/life habits.
But with some of the following moves and expert tips, you could be on your way to keeping the most notorious desk-job dangers at bay.
Here are eight work habits that lead to bad posture along with advice on how to fix them:
1. You are sitting wrong:
How you sit at your desk has a huge impact on your posture.
• The worst habits include, sinking down in your seat, which strains the lower back
• slouching to one side, which increases tension on one side of the body;
• poking out your chin, which can lead to neck and upper back pain; and, lastly,
• Sitting on your wallet, which increases the risk of pinching the sciatic nerve and causing back pain.
• Many of these habits are caused by how your workstation is set up. You should move your hips as far back as they can go in the chair, adjust your chair height so your feet are flat on the floor, pull up close to your keyboard and position it directly in front of you so your hands are at or below elbow level and position your computer screen an arm’s length away with the top of the monitor approximately two to three inches above eye level.
2. You are looking down at computer screens and mobile devices:
Hunching over your keyboard can cause you to develop a rounded upper back as well as stiffness in your shoulders and back. And “text neck” is the phrase to describe the impact of looking down at your mobile device all day. Text neck can lead to many health issues, including neck pain, spinal misalignment and degeneration, headaches and nerve damage. In fact, one study described looking down at your phone as the equivalent of putting a 60-pound weight on your neck. It’s also important to stretch your back and shoulders periodically throughout the day. The following exercises will releave neck tension.
• Shoulder blade pinches. Sit or stand up straight and pinch your shoulder blades together for about five seconds and then release. You should do about 10 repetitions of that exercise every hour.
• Neck rotations and chin tucks. For neck rotations, keep your chin parallel to the floor and look to the left and right, 10 times on each side,
• Chin tucks, sit up straight in your chair and keep your chin parallel to the floor. Then draw your head and chin back like you’re making a double chin. Release your chin forward and repeat about 10 times. You should try to do these exercises periodically throughout the day.
3. You are cradling your phone between your ear and neck:
Many people want to multitask and one bad habit is cradling the phone on your shoulder so that you can keep your hands free to write or type. However, this practice can strain muscles and other soft tissues in your neck, shoulders and upper back. To break this habit, use a headset if you are on the phone a lot throughout the day or get into the habit of holding your phone in your hand.
4. You are working from a laptop or tablet in a relaxed position:
Many people are often working on a laptop or mobile device from a relaxed position—either on a couch, bed or recliner. This practice can lead to “hunched over laptop syndrome,” which can result in neck pain, back pain and spinal problems like a slipped disc, By setting the laptop up at the appropriate height on a sturdy surface like a desk.
5. You are sitting all day:
When you stay seated for a long periods time, your muscles become tired and, as a result, you will start slouching, leaning and slumping at your desk. This will lead to back, neck and muscle problems. Workers should stand, stretch, and walk around every half hour for about two minutes.
6. Wrist Strain:
Poor posture, in particular having your shoulders hunched forward. That’s because the position decreases the blood flow downstream, including to your hands, causing soreness or in some cases, a tingling sensation or numbness.
• Perform a prayer stretch, also known as a Buddha stretch: Place your fingers and palms together with your hands in front of your chest, fingers pointing upward. While keeping your palms together and your elbows moving out, lower your hands until you feel a good stretch in your wrists. Hold for five seconds.
7. Eye Strain:
Staring at your computer for hours at a time can cause eye fatigue, as can having a computer monitor that’s too far away (making your eyes strain to read the small print) or too close (making your eyes work harder to focus). People also tend to blink less often while staring at their computer, which leads to dry eyes and fatigue.
• Every 20 to 30 minutes, look at something off in the distance, such as a window across the length of the office, for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.
8. TIGHT HIPS:
Over time, being stuck sitting in a bent position on a daily basis—from your desk at work to your couch at home—shortens your hip flexors, a group of muscles located at the front of your hips, causing pain. Tight hip flexors also contribute to lower back soreness, another common complaint.
• Try doing a stretch to release tight hip flexors. Kneel on your left knee—like you are about to propose to someone—and place your right foot forward with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
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Remedial Massage Therapist
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