For most people, the regular desk job can sometimes cause poor posture, lower back pain, anxiety and/or stress.
To help alleviate this pain our Chiropractor, Dr Evan Sgammotta, has answered a few questions on how to offset your nine to five.
Hey Evan, what are common afflictions you see in people with a nine to five?
Chiropractic treatment could help better poor posture, back pain and anxiety and stress. All of these things can be seen with prolonged periods of sitting or a desk not being set up properly. In many cases, a static 9/5 job can cause poor posture, lower back pain, anxiety and stress.
In many cases, poor posture can lead to neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain.
With pain comes with de-motivation about movement and health, with results in increase in muscle tension, increase in stress.
Lower back pain can be due to increased sitting and not enough movement. Weakness of the glutes and core, tightness of the lower back and hip flexors, causing increasing pressure on Lower back. Lower back pain is the number one pain in Australia, and world-wide.
As many people have experienced, facing anxiety and stress can come from work and life in general.
What are a few quick fixes for us to offset our nine to fives?
Getting the correct pillow is a quick fix to a better back, as we are on it 6-8 hours a night, as well as making sure we’re in the right the sleeping position. Sleeping on your back or side is the preferred position. Never sleep on your stomach.
At work, getting up every hour or two to walk around and stretch the quads, glutes, and shoulders is helpful to alleviating tension. It is the best thing to remind yourself of your posture. On that, Movement overall is the best thing to counter-act the sit down posture at the desk.
When you’re at home, rolling up a towel (or using a roller) on the floor, lying down on your back with the towel or roller going down your spine and staying there for 2-3 minutes is great to open up the chest and reset the upper back posture. You can put a pillow under your head if it is too painful to drop it back.
If you have lower back pain, stretching our your glutes as well as your quads and hip flexors will help relieve tension. Alternatively, you can buy a trigger ball and target these muscles. If there is any shooting/sharp pain, best to get it look by a spinal practitioner.
In the morning, before breakfast have a warm glass of water with a bit of lemon. It helps warm up and start the metabolism. It also re-hydrates your body after no fluid intake for 6-8 hours.
How do people make sure they’re ergonomically set up at their desks?
Your eyes are lined up with your screen and your not looking down
Your wrists are neutral when you are hitting the keyboard,
Your back is comfortable in sitting up right.
Your feet can touch the floor and are comfortable (as in to not switch on your hip flexors)
Have you seen benefit in people using standing desks?
Yes I have, I believe it will make you be aware of your posture. Like anything, it has to be done in moderation, with the option to sit as well.
Sitting on medicine balls was a thing, too!
Sitting on a ball is a similar thing to a stand up desk, must have an option to have a proper chair. Medicine balls are used to switch on your core, however your core shouldn’t be switched on continuously for 8 hours.
How do you remain fresh at work?
It’s important to make sure your computer or laptop are at eye level, ensure breaks every 1-2 hours if doing admin work. Before I treat patients, I treat it as if it’s a sport and stretch and warm up the body before I see anyone.
Exercise in the morning is very important and a must for me plus doing the morning rituals I have set out (i.e mediation)
What should you do if your neck feels strained? Is there long-term damage in looking down at a screen for too long?
There is long term damage if you continue to strain your neck. Increase pressure on the joints, it will change the shape of your neck curve, push your head forward (forward head carry) which in end will cause wear and tear (Arthritis) headaches etc.
“For every 2.5 cms of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 4 kgs.” -Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3
When I treat patients, a part of the treatment is doing a postural analysis, so we can see if the head is forward, how much it weighs on your body and then work together to better alignment and posture.
Follow this link to book in an appointment with Dr Evan Sgammotta to chat about your posture, habits and how you can work together to create a healthier you.