We’re now in the fourth week of lockdown and already there’s a significant increase in the number of people suffering new aches and pains they’ve never had before. A survey by the Institute for Employment Studies recently found that more than 50% of respondents were experiencing new neck, shoulder or back pain.
It’s fair to say we usually associate working the body and muscles with exercise and activity. During this process the muscles contract and relax repetitively, meaning during every cycle there’s a muscle rest period. This also encourages blood flow, feeding them with oxygen and nutrients. When we hold static seated positions, the muscles are held in a constant contracted state, meaning there’s no rest period. Although the muscles aren’t working as hard as when exercising, we tend not to exercise any particular muscle for hours on end without a single second of rest. This is where the problem comes in. Asking the muscles to work continuously in the same way for hours on end, day after day leads to them feeling fatigued and exhausted. They become tighter, shorter and painful. In essence, a tight, sore muscle is a muscle that’s struggling to cope with the daily demands you’re placing on it, so it will complain! So, getting the home office setup right is critical to preventing these problems. Here’s a quick guide to help:
Ensure your feet are on the ground and your knees are lower than your hips. A common misconception is that there should be a 90 degree angle at the knee – this is too low. The lower your knees are to your hips, the more the back muscles can let go. The opposite will lead to you really slumping and the muscles screaming.
Ensure the surface you’re working at isn’t too high or low – too high will mean you raise your shoulders, elbows come out to the side, leading to shoulder, arm and upper back muscles working too hard. Too low and you’ll really slump down, head moving forward, causing a huge loading onto your neck, shoulders, upper back and arms. Your head is the weight of a bowling ball – a huge stress onto the neck muscles. Wrists and forearms should be slightly sloping down or at a 90 degree angle.
Make sure you’re absolutely straight on to your computer or workstation. If you are, the muscles in the left and right sides of your body will work together, meaning they’ll share the load and cope much better. If however, you even turn as little as 5 degrees to one side, the muscles on that side will have to work extra hard to hold you in that position. This really is asking for trouble – one side doing very little, the other working overtime, creating a huge imbalance.
Lastly, it’s even more important just now to take breaks and be active. Then each time you sit back down to work, reset your position. If you’re struggling, remember we can solve a lot of your problems through our online face-to-face consultations. Book by visiting our website or via the Mindbody App.
Balance is still providing the following services: Emergency chiropractic appointments; Online chiropractic consultations; Live stream yoga classes from Monday – Saturday.