By E-Lynn Tan
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio + Pilates Baldivis
Are you a student or professional who sits at work all day? You likely know that feeling of stiffness and tightness when you stand up after sitting for a long period of time. It can be pretty rough.
In sitting, there are muscle groups that get tight and inactive. These include your gluteal muscles, hip flexors and rectus femoris and as your body starts to slouch, your pectorals and scalene muscles also start to hurt.
The best way to get rid of your neck and back pain is to avoid staying in a sustained position.
Have a chat to your physiotherapist at your next session regarding a proper desk setup. A proper desk setup encourages good posture and prevents exacerbation of pain. Here are a few tips:
- Top of monitor at eye level
- Seat needs to be adjusted so that your forearms are resting at a 90 degree angle on the table
- Should not have to reach to use mouse or keyboard
- Feet should be flat on floor
- Knees should be under table
- Back comfortably supported by back of chair
Most workplaces now have a sit-to-stand desk for their employees to help with breaking up your day. Try to change positions every 2-3 hours, where possible and remember, the idea is to avoid staying in a sustained position. This also includes prolonged standing!
If you spend a lot of time on the road, check the setup of your vehicle. Your shoulders should stay relaxed and your back and neck should be resting on the backrest of your seat. Try adjusting the height and angle of your steering wheel and seat to ensure optimal comfort. Sometimes, adding a lumbar roll can help with keeping the natural curvature of your back.
Lastly, try to stay as active as you can outside of work and study! Go for a walk daily and join an exercise class! You can get a proper ergonomic assessment by one of our Life Ready physiotherapists. Check out our supervised exercise sessions here where our physiotherapists can guide you through exercises and stretches to lengthen your muscles and get them stronger!