I Sit All Day - How Can I Stop This Pain!?
By now you've probably heard the phrase "Sitting is the new smoking". Obviously they are two drastically different activities but the one similar outcome that studies have proven is that both can dramatically shorten your lifespan. We of course knew this about smoking a long time ago. While smoking is a choice, sitting is pretty unavoidable. Unfortunately the alternative, standing all day, does not actually improve outcomes either.
From the macro to the micro our bodies need movement to survive. We need both physical exercise daily and also down to the joint level we need smooth, unrestricted movement between our bones (what chiropractic adjustments provide). The best alternative for sitting or standing all day is simply a little of BOTH! A sit-stand desk of some sort is the key, along with frequent walks around the office as much as the job permits throughout the day. A HUGE part of all of this movement stuff is just plain getting ourselves out of the bad posture we all end up with when sitting or standing at a computer for long periods of time.
So what does "bad posture" really mean? Well, it's the slumped forward upper back, the shoulders forced forward as we reach for the keyboard (or phones), and the forward positioning of the head that keeps getting worse the longer we are sitting. We've all seen it and we all do it.
It's almost impossible to sit up tall with perfect posture all day which is why to make up for this I tell all my patients who work at a desk to do these 3 simple (but admittedly difficult to be consistent with) stretches hourly ideally or at least 3 times during a workday.
1. Relief Stretch - Sit up straight, pull your neck back so your head is directly above (and not in front of) your body. At the same time pull your arms back with a stretch in the front of your chest as you inhale slowly for about 3 seconds and relaxing everything as you exhale. Do 3 in a row.
2. Upper Trap Stretch - Sit up tall, sit on one hand and with the other hand pull just the head (not the body) to the opposite side and hold a good stretch for 30 seconds. Do the other side too!
3. Levator Stretch - Sit up tall while sitting on one hand. Turn head half way to opposite shoulder and with free arm have elbow directly in front of your face while the hand grabs the back of yourhead and pulls it downward.
Just the fact alone that you are more aware of your posture and breaking up that bad pattern of sitting throughout the day can make a huge difference in how much upper back and neck pain, or even potentially headaches, you'll get.
I hope this was helpful. Please feel free to "like" and share this post with friends and co-workers who could use a reminder on posture or are dealing with pain from sitting too much. There will likely be some of you who won't be able to get over your pain with stretches and exercises alone which means seeing a chiropractor to get to the root of the problem is a good idea. If you've dealt with pain and can't seem to shake it give me call at 612-655-3073 or shoot me an email at DrAdam@FullMotionChiropractic.com with any questions you may have or to set up an appointment! My office is conveniently located near downtown Hopkins, MN with office hours Monday to Thursday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.