We all have to do it, but a long day at work sitting in front of a computer can leave us feeling tight through the shoulders, stiff in the neck and suffering with headaches. Due to the posture adopted while sitting at the computer the spine tends to flex forward which can increase the pressure through the discs of the spine, whilst tightening the muscles through the shoulders and neck.
Here are 10 tips to help freshen the body from sitting at you desk all day:
- Don’t slump in your chair! Having support at the lumbar spine to maintain a ‘neutral’ position helps ease pressure on the discs in the lower back, whilst unloading the joints in the spine. Some chairs have a ‘lumbar’ support, otherwise a lumbar support pillow can be used.
- Keep an ergonomic work station! Keep feet flat on the floor (or a stool if your feet don’t touch the floor) and elbows at 90degrees, wrists neutral and shoulders relaxed.
- Take regular breaks! Breaking every 30-60min to stand and go for a walk (even if it’s for a glass of water or toilet break) helps keep the spine mobile and releases tension built up in the muscles.
- Roll your shoulders! Rolling the shoulders forwards and backwards will allow movement at the joints and help release the muscle tightness, this should be done every 20-30min. Even dropping your hands to your lap will help ease tension in the shoulders.
- Drink lots of water while sitting at your desk. This helps with brain function, hydration and flushing toxins that build up in the body.
- Don’t rest the phone between the ear and the shoulder for phone conversations. Try to use a head set if you need your hands to type or write while on the phone.
- Exercise during the working week or even at lunch time! Since sitting at the desk takes up most of our time in the working week, keeping active is extremely important for the health, function and strength of your muscles. Try Pilates, yoga or core strengthening on a fitball at home.
- Try leave the office at least once a day to get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
- Have a list of stretches next to your desk to do regularly (every hour) for your neck and lower back (Example: rotate the neck, roll the shoulders, stretch arms behind your back, stand up and extend at the lower back).
- If possible, mix up your regular work routine and try working from home.
Please see your physiotherapist if you need a list of exercises for your neck or lower back to help assist you at work.
Hope these help!