Don't Let Your Desk Job Become a Pain in the Neck
In this day and age, most of us find ourselves uncomfortably stuck behind a desk and in front of a computer for most of our life. And, in case the lower back pain, shoulder tension and crick in your neck weren’t enough of a red flag, I’ll have you know that this much sitting down is no good for your spine. Not only does this office posture create a risk for carpal tunnel and the chronic back pain that you probably already experience, but sitting too much and with bad posture is linked with more serious side effects like an increased risk for kidney disease and shortened life span. In fact, a recent study just found that people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of heart disease as people with standing jobs. But with deadlines and bosses and emails to answer, what’s a body to do?
- Sit Pretty: Don’t scrimp on your seat. Think about how much time you spend in your desk chair and then measure that up against how quality or comfortable it is. If your chair isn’t ergonomic or is getting worn and needs an upgrade, it’s time to make an investment in your spine. Buy, or ask your company to buy, a chair that supports you.
- Pay Attention to Your Posture: this doesn’t mean that you have to stand while you work or even force your spine into an upright position – that may actually aggravate the spine even more. Just be sure to support your back and make certain your feet are resting comfortably flat on the floor. Keep your monitor at arms length and eye level so you’re less inclined to have to tilt your head in a way that will put added pressure on your neck.
- Rock It: Bouncing back and forth in your chair actually works your balancing muscles enough to help keep your spine strong and loose. It can help to release tension held in all areas of your back from your hips to your neck. Plus, studies have shown that this movement may even improve your ability to concentrate.
- Get Up: It’s best to stand up and move for a few minutes every half hour. You can go for a short walk around the office, or if you can’t leave your desk, try some more stationary exercises like lunges or calf raises just to get the blood flowing and to release any tension. Take advantage of every opportunity throughout your day to get moving.
- Be Nice to Your Feet: Everyone likes to be fashionable, but at what cost? Keeping in mind your feet are the foundation of your skeletal system, it might behoove you to think twice when picking out which shoes match your bag. Wear shoes that have soft, supportive soles, with heels less than two inches high. For added comfort and reinforcement, you might want to think about investing in some insoles as well.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.