(Photo | by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels)
In the fun(ish) new world we’re living in, where working at home seems to be the new norm, we’re finding that we’re constantly hunching over our computers as we send out company emails, conduct meetings, write reports, etc. Maybe you were doing that before COVID-19 started, so lucky you, this applies to you too! Because we’re all aware of the neck cramps we experience when huddled at our desks, the knotted shoulders shooting spikes of pain up into our brains and then the super awesome twinge of hell that starts at the lower back and carries like the worst roller coaster ever up our spines. And it’s not something that stays within normal working hours either. It spills into our daily lives, making us feel like we’re at least 20 years older than we actually are. It keeps us from walking straight, from sleeping well, from picking up our kids when they want a hug or playing fetch with Sparky at the dog park.
When it becomes hard to live our lives because we’re always in pain, it’s time to make a change. Meet your new best friend: the chiropractor.
What Sitting at a Desk All Day Really Looks Like for Your Body
Let’s first take a look at the primary pains one experiences from sitting at desk for six-plus hours a day. Then we’ll look at how to fix them.
We asked Doctor of Chiropractic, Kristin Costanzo, from Elk Ridge Chiropractic & Wellness Center to give us a bit of information on the subject. Here’s what she had to say:
“A lot of people that sit at a desk most of the day for work come in with neck, shoulder and low back pain complaints. These are usually the result of what we call ‘postural syndromes.’ A postural syndrome is when the body holds prolonged posture positions that can affect the body’s joints, muscles and tendons in a negative way. As a result, pain is experienced that can linger as those positions are adopted and maintained without interference.”
“These prolonged postures create imbalances such as lower cross syndrome [weakness in the lower back muscles], tight upper trapezius muscles [the area between the neck and shoulders]and weak rhomboids [the muscles connecting the shoulders to the spine], among other concerns. These imbalances contribute to irregularities such as rounded shoulders and a forward head posture, which can be harmful to the body and can create a good deal of pain.”
In other words, slouching over our computers, over our phones or even on our downtime over a book or magazine, can cause imbalances in our posture that not only affect us in the here and now, but can lead to poor posture problems in the future that give us constant, unwanted discomfort.
How to Treat the Pain from Working Your Desk Job
Now that we’ve determined what’s bad for us when working at a desk all day, let’s look at how to heal ourselves.
“In order to counter this type of stress, you should definitely be seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis, as chiropractic adjustments help reset the neurological tone of the muscles in these areas,” Dr. Kristin tells us. But the realignment of the spine is only one part of the healing process.
“In addition to the adjustment, we often use some soft tissue modalities such as electrical stimulation or stretching to help loosen up the facilitated [weak]muscles. Simple stabilization exercises can also be prescribed to help strengthen the inhibited muscles. These exercises are usually easy to do, and can be practiced at home or at the office.”
Ask your chiropractor what might be a good treatment plan for you based on your daily work routine, and how they might be able to help you break those poor posture habits. If you are not currently seeing a chiropractor, we recommend Elk Ridge Chiropractic & Wellness Center for it’s myriad of treatments, from Activator and manual adjustment, to physical therapy, massage therapy and naturopathy, to treat those imbalances you may be experiencing.
Preventative Measures to Take Moving Forward
In addition to receiving regular care from your chiropractor and implementing daily exercises to limit postural imbalances, there’s an additional measure you can take to really seal the deal.
We talked with Elk Ridge owner and fellow Doctor of Chiropractic, Natasha Ruegsegger, who highly suggests investing in a standing desk to keep the body moving, thus minimizing the tight, achy pains that result from sitting and slouching all day.
Dr. Natasha recommends the Babin Height Adjustable Standing Desk, a smart desk that allows her to schedule her standing breaks throughout the day from a digital control panel built into the desk. Having purchased one of these for her own office at Elk Ridge, Dr. Natasha programs her desk to rise automatically from the sitting position to the standing position every hour. Without having to set an alarm, reminding her when to stand up and take a break, this smart desk does the job for her. She can keep on working from the standing position, and when the break is finished, down the desk goes, back into the sitting position. It’s a great, effective way to ensure that much-needed movement throughout the day.
You can purchase this desk and others like it at places like Costco or Office Max, or online at furniture outlets.
Got a Question?
At Elk Ridge Chiropractic, we’re available Monday and Wednesday from 9:30am to 6:30pm; Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30pm to 6:30pm; and Friday from 9:30pm to 1pm. You can give us a call at 541-388-3588, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your first appointment.