Many of the clients we see with neck and shoulder tension have one thing in common – poor posture at work.
Poor posture and slouching at your desk is bad for you. It’s even worse when you’re sitting for long periods and constantly on the computer. And, unfortunately, this is most of us.
Obvious health issues that arise are back pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain.
Less obvious issues include increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, leg disorders, muscular degeneration and damage to lumbar discs. Breathing can become difficult or shallow which actually increases the stress on the body in already stressed and overworked people. Bad posture is bad news!
Maintaining good posture is hard, especially when you’re sitting for hours on end at a desk. This is where taking a break comes in. Ideally taking a short 2 to 3-minute break every 30 minutes is far better than sitting for 2 hours and having a 15-minute break. The idea is to move more often before the tension builds up.
Even if you use a standing desk, try to move around every 20 to 30-minutes to exercise your hips and keep the circulation moving in your legs.
Some other useful tips are:
Use a footstool. This stops you from crossing your legs and encourages you to sit up straight.
Move your water bottle out of reach so you have to stand to drink. We all take a small drink about every 15 min. If you stand to reach your water, then not only are you using your hip and leg muscles, you are also straightening your shoulders. When you sit down again you will refresh your posture.
Try using a lumbar support on your chair. Press your spine gently against the support to remind you that it is there and to keep you up straight.
Remember to relax your chest and breathe deeply. Shallow breathing and a tight chest add to stress and tension.
Improving your posture requires persistence and determination. Like any bad habit, there is no quick fix.
If you do have back, neck or shoulder problems from work, book in to see one of our Remedial Massage Therapist for some treatment, exercises, and advice. You can book an appointment online here.
For those of you who are interested to read more, here are a couple of articles:
Long sitting hours? Here’s how you can avoid health problems
Slouching can be terrible for your health — I found a posture trick that worked immediately
By Paul Dockeary ND, February 2018