Posture Tips: How to Ease Aches and Pains at Work
It's September and most of us are headed back to school or work after a great summer spent outside hiking and enjoying a more active lifestyle.
With the back to routine shift that comes in the fall, we tend to see an increase in the kinds of repetitive strain that result from longer hours spent in an office environment. Specifically, I'm referring to carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain and shoulder dysfunction. It doesn't take long to forget the power of great posture and the advantages it can provide to your lifestyle.
A lot of your time is spent at work or school doing whatever it is that you do, but bad posture habits can have a serious cumulative effect. Here's a quick refresher to remind you how to maintain better posture and make it part of your healthy lifestyle.
- Keep your body straight. If you sit at a desk, adjust the fitting features to ensure you are properly supported. If you are sitting for a long time and begin to feel tired, shift your position to the front with a straight back from time to time. This small change can sometimes help ease your back muscles and stop you from slouching. If you stand up at work make the effort to stand straight and tall. Engage your core muscles and make sure your body weight is spread evenly to the front back and the sides of the feet.
- Get up and move! If you spend all your time in one position not only will you be glued to your chair all day, but you will also put more pressure on your neck and back. The best time to get up and move is when you start to feel your body slouch and you can't seem to hold a comfortable position. Try to get out of your chair and move every 30 minutes or so. Grab a glass of water, stretch or walk down the hall. Most movements are good and even small changes help.
- Use props like a back support, footrest or wrist rest. These are great aids, easy to find and can really help you hold your posture at work. Be sure to check the position of your computer screen too. Your screen should be at the level of or resting eye position to avoid strain on the neck and tilting the head forward.
- If you work outside an office, be sure to check your footwear, bags and backpacks to minimize back pain and promote good posture.
The thing about repetitive strain injuries is that they are just that: simple everyday movements repeated over and over when the body's muscles and alignment are out of balance. The solution is in making the small changes and creating an awareness of your posture and movements every day.
Good posture is not a quick fix but an essential step in creating the healthy habits that help maintain an active lifestyle.
If you continue to experience pain and discomfort as you move through your day, it may be time to seek professional help. A physiotherapist is specially trained to help get you moving and help you stay that way. Call the clinic if you think we can help.