“The workday is over!” Music to your ears, right? Projects, deadlines, emails, and paperwork are put on pause until the next time you enter your office space. It feels good to be done with all this work…. Or at least we hope!
Whether you work from home or in the office, a long day at the desk can be a pain in the neck, literally! We should be able to walk away from our work day feeling accomplished and inspired, not tensed up, pushing, pressing, or stretching out nasty knots in the upper back and neck. So what’s the deal?
As we sit for an extended period, our muscles take on extra stress due to poor posture and little movement. We often see rounded shoulders and a forward head posture as a consequence of a long work day. Research shows that for every inch the head moves forward from its natural position, the neck and upper back muscles take on an extra ten pounds of pressure. This extra stress can lead to increased tension, trigger points, headaches, and joint stiffness in the short term, and potentially degenerative changes and severe pain long term.
And, the solution?
Aside from having your unique ergonomic setup perfected, (we’ve got you covered here, in case you missed it), there are other ways we can support our posture and improve how we feel.
Introducing - micro-breaks! That is, 20-30 second movement-filled breaks, every 20-30 minutes during the workday. Studies show that this approach can help reduce tension and improve posture and breathing in just a few short weeks.
Give your body the (micro) breaks it needs by practicing these simple and effective exercises throughout the work day! You may find it helpful to set reminders, add sticky notes, or set timers to remind yourself to treat your body to healthy, regular movement.
Shoulder Blade Squeezes
Setup: Sit tall with good posture. Relax the muscles in your neck and upper back by raising your shoulders towards your ears then allowing them to drop into a relaxed position.
Movement: Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and depress, or lower, them down towards your back pockets. Do not allow your shoulder to come up towards your ears.
“Sit Tall” Tip: Imagine you have a string attached to the crown of your head, pulling you up towards the sky. Feel your spine lengthen as your torso stretches into an upright position. Notice your hips are stacked underneath your shoulders. Your feet are flat on the ground.
The Brugger Relief Position
Setup: Sit with tall posture, your bottom “sit bones” at the edge of your chair, feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly pointed outward. Arms at your sides, with elbows bent and palms facing up (as if you are holding serving trays).
Movement: Tilt your pelvis forward (arching your back) and lift your breastbone up. Pinch your shoulder blades together, and gently bring your arms further to your sides behind you. Hold this position for 10 seconds while performing deep breaths. Relax. Repeat 2-3 times.
The Chin Tuck
Setup: Sit tall with good posture. Do not lean into the backrest of your chair. Allow your eyes to gaze at eye-level in your environment.
Movement: Gently lower your chin downward towards your neck, as if you were at the bottom of a nodding motion. If you feel like you are giving yourself a double-chin, you’ve got it right!
Hold this position for 10 seconds. Relax. Repeat 2-3 times.
Interested in getting a custom pain-elimination routine from one of our experts? Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– Courtney Rusomaroff, DPT