Is your 9-5 desk job wrecking your posture?
Stiff neck, painful shoulders, backache and posture pain? If your work involves prolonged sitting then you might be like the thousands of sedentary workers who suffer daily pain and discomfort commonly referred to as WRMSDs (Work Related Musculo-Skeletal Disorders). In the UK it is estimated that WRMSDs account for over 40% of all work related ill health [i].
Even if you have had a work station assessment there is still a good chance your back and posture are suffering simply because I honestly do not believe we were designed to sit still for hours on end.
Prolonged static desk work leads to muscular and skeletal imbalances. Not only does this not look good by adversely affecting our posture but in many cases it also causes physical pain and research also suggests it may be a contributing factor for other health problems such as diabetes. Sitting for long periods ultimately puts a strain on our bodies with some muscles become shortened causing joints to become stiff and even painful while other muscles and tendons are subjected to unnatural stresses and repetitive strains.
As an osteopath I recognise these symptoms and sure I agree it’s not ideal to sit all day long but I also understand that you can’t just get up and change your job either. It’s a conversation I have had with many patients.
10 Effective Posture Exercises that you really can do at your desk
So what is the answer? I like to talk to my patients about the following considerations:
- Assess your work station for any obvious issues.
- Make sure you are sitting correctly. If in doubt see my blog.
- If you feel your posture needs correcting see our posture devices.
- DESKERCISE. Keep moving with my 10 simple but effective exercises.
I have created a template of 10 exercises, also known in my osteopathic practices as ‘deskercise’ that you can quite literally do while sitting at your desk. Done daily these exercises are designed to help reduce the build up of tight muscles and joints with the added benefit of helping to achieve a good posture with effective spinal alignment.
In and beyond the office.
There are also some very simple steps you can build into your daily routine to help further combat the effects of your sedentary 9-5 desk job.
- When you park your car at work, the supermarket or even the gym choose the furthest parking spot from the entrance. Then briskly walk to your destination.
- Ditch the lift and take the stairs.
- Instead of emailing or dialling the extension of your work colleague a few desks away get up and go and see them.
- Find the printer furthest away from your desk and send all your printing there. It may not be far but it will make you get up and move.
- Walk and talk! If you need to discuss matters with a work colleague why not do it on the move.
And finally drink more water. Not only will it help keep you hydrated but it will quite literally force you to get up and go to the bathroom!
So.. Don’t just sit there.. click to get started with 'deskercise'. Remember, take things slowly to begin with.