How do you sit at work? Do you heed conventional wisdom and “sit up straight,” or are you right now leaning toward the screen as you read, with back rounded and the head casting disproportionate pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles, asking them to compensate? Even if you immediately straightened up upon seeing the word posture, chances are you will be slouched down or slumped forward five minutes after you have finished reading. This plays on the tendency of humans toward laziness: sitting is the most conducive position to poor posture.
- Head facing straight forward, centered over the spine. If needs be, adjust the height of your monitor to encourage this position.
- Back straight with buttocks touch the back of the chair and your shoulders back in a relaxed position.
- If possible, place a pillow in the back of the chair to encourage the lordotic curve.
- Weight of torso distributed evenly between the hips (not leaning to one side).
- Legs at 90 degrees or slightly higher.
- Feet rested flat on the floor without too much pressure being pressed through them.
As you work in front of the computer for hours at a time, you are encouraging muscular imbalance and poor curvature. This can leave you with muscle strain, headaches and back pain. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I believe a reminder of good posture is always in order. Try to remind yourself of this position as often as possible, especially when you catch yourself slumping.
For help on posturing throughout the day, call our office in Park Slope at (718) 398-3100
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
…Well, maybe not just like it. But it is important to remember to stretch on the go. As you pass through each phase of your daily waking life, it is important to remember to keep your muscles moving so that tension does not accumulate. Tension of the muscles and stress/anxiety are inextricably linked in both directions so managing one will help you manage the other. When it comes to adding more stretching into your life, the key is repetition. Instill the thirst for stretching and your body and brain will reward you.
Those of us who spend significant portions of the day in an office chair are the most at risk for energy stangation, muscle tension and spinal degradation. Fight back against this damaging cycle by setting a timer for the top of every hour and taking a break from the chair to stretch it out: you don’t even have to get up.
Step 1: Shake your shoulders out. Feel how tightly wound you were after 2 hours of intense computer work? This is how much tension immediately leaves your body when you shake your shoulders.
Step 2: Treat your neck to a bit of flexion and extension, moving your chin down toward chest and up toward the sky. Gently move your ears down to each shoulder until you feel a decent stretch in the opposing side of the neck.
Step 3: Reach for the sky with all your might. Clasp your hands together with palms facing outward and extend your arms upward. Repeat this stretch in front of yourself.
Step 4: Place one leg over the other and gently twist your body in the opposing direction.
Together, these stretches take under 3 minutes out of a work hour. The reward in productivity should be enough to convince your boss. The more you can remember to do them, the better the reward. At your Park Slope Chiropractor, we are all about combatting tension. Call our office to find out ways to break the cycles of stagnation that we all inevitably fall victim to.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C., L.Ac.