Do you sit at desk for most of your day? Is your current workstation set up for proper posture? Are your shoulders, back, and neck stiff? Do you find yourself in a hunched over position often?
I see many patients who suffer from postural stress (or desk work). It’s a common problem that leads to upper back, neck, and headache problems. Most of this is preventable by trying to change up your daily routine at your desk.
Therefore, let’s talk about the desk position. Many times, when working in a stationary position, we get tired and may slouch. The upper back and their postural muscles get tired, we lose our posture, rounding forward to a slumped position and our neck strained out. We might be in an unfriendly chair, or the desk set up isn’t comfortable for us, contributing to the muscle tension. In addition to back and neck strain, our chest can get really tight because of the strain to our back.
Think about your head being about 8-10 pounds, similar to a bowling ball. (I like to call this the bowling ball effect.) Imagine holding a bowling ball straight out in front of you – your neck, back, and chest are going to get sore. There will be less impact if the head (that 8-10 pound bowling ball) is held close toward your body.
Hopefully all that helps you understand why your body ensures postural stress at a desk.
Here are some tips for opening up your shoulders, upper back and neck area.
Begin by addressing the low back. Sit up straight in your chair and make sure the curvature is correct. Sometimes placing a pillow, specifically a lumbar pillow, for support can help.
Similarly, adjust your monitor so that it is higher, so you aren’t tempted to slouch down to see it, putting stress on your low back and neck.
Be aware when you start to slouch your head forward. Bring it back to an upright position – move the “bowling ball” closer into your body.
After that, find a friendly chair, one you are comfortable sitting in for extended periods of time.
In addition, take breaks throughout the day – usually every 30-45 minutes.
Try playing what I call “The Game of Opposites.” If you are in a seated position looking forward most of the day, practice the opposite of that position. Stand up, open your hips, stretch your back and neck to the rear of you, and roll your shoulders to open them up.
Lean into the doorway to stretch your chest muscles by putting your arms out at a 90-degree angle and gently pressing into a door frame.
Do chin tucks by pulling your chin back toward your spine, pulling your head in. These a just a few tips for helping relieve postural stress due to desk work. Above all, if you have persistent issues, call me and schedule an appointment at the clinic. I’m here to help!