I treat a lot of clients with very common complaints. Typically they have chronic neck, mid-back, low back pain or all three. While a large percentage of my clients are athletes, I continue to see non-athletes too. I can often guess that someone coming to me with this type of complaint, who has no recollection of injury, more than likely is working a desk job.
Have you heard sitting is the new smoking? The Washington Post discusses the health hazards of sitting. Another article recently was published discussed current research on just how bad sitting is for the heart. If you really think about how much sitting occurs in total with the commute, work, and coming home to eat then watch tv and top it off with probably not a full nights sleep, this sedentary lifestyle not only affects your heart but also your breathing, digestion, postural dysfunctions among other things.
What is a person to do? We gotta pay the bills, right?
Consider these options:
Figure out if biking/walking/taking public transportation is an option to and from work
Get a standing desk or better yet a treadmill desk. If neither is a reality get a stability ball or at least an adjustable chair that has lumbar support or can be added.
Look at your workspace, is it ergonomically correct?
Instead of watching tv and sitting after work, join a social club or take a walk after dinner or foam roll during the news. Turn your favorite show, like “The Bachelor” (not mine, just saying) into an exercise game, like 5 push-ups when a girl says she “has a connection” with the bachelor or 20-second plank hold when a girl cries, etc.
Additionally, you can try these postural correction exercises
1. Strengthen your core muscles.
- Plank hold (15-30 seconds)
- Side planks (15-30 seconds on each side)
- Floor back extensions (8-12 times)
2. Strengthen and stretch your upper body to fix rounded shoulders.
- Prone YTI (8-12 times)
- Wall Angels (8-12 times)
3. Strengthen and stretch your neck muscles.
- Chin tuck (8-12 times)
- Thoracic foam roll extension (30-60 seconds)
4. Strengthen and stretch your hip joints.
- Bridges (8-12 times)
- Laying side leg raises (8-12 times, each side)
- Hip Flexor Stretch (30 seconds, times each side)
Perform these exercises two to three times a week beginning with one set of each exercise and increasing to 3 sets while maintaining good form. It’s a good idea to check with your physical therapist on correct positioning before starting any new fitness routine.