Work…More Than Just A Pain!? Posture Article by Senior Physiotherapist Faye Burge

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Work… more than just a pain?
Lets face it is there is nothing worse than sitting at your desk drowning in paper work and spread sheets? Well speak to some one with office induced low back pain and neck pain or persistent head aches and you will find out there is! Ever found your self wiggling in your chair as that low back just can’t get comfortable or the neck and shoulders that no matter how many shoulder rolls you do they just feel heavy and sore? Well read on to hear about a couple of postural hints to help your day run a little smoother!
Advice for those with neck and back ache.
It is always important to remember to have good posture from the onset of your discomfort. Even if it only seems like a trivial level of pain. And remember saying you don’t have time to sit correctly is no excuse. Small changes go a long way and following some of the hints below could save you a hefty physiotherapy bill!
Work/ office based
1. Avoid bending forward and slouching in your chair.
Becoming the office gremlin hunched over your desk will only aggravate factors. A word of warning to the office “mer cats” who sit glued to there desks with their low back over arched and their mid back away from the supportive back of the chair. This position will over activate the lower back muscle causing them to fatigue. As a result the mid back becomes stiff and the chin pokes forward over using the muscles at the back of the neck, this may lead to headaches.

Ideally: Think Balloon.
Sit relaxed as if there is a balloon reaching out form the top of your head it lightly elongates you allowing you head to fall into a neutral position , thus the weight of the head travels through the spine and is not solely held up by the muscles. The idea of the balloon is a softer approach to the “sit up straight like a sergeant major” which is known to cause mid back pain due to constant fight against gravity…you will lose!

2. Avoid prolonged periods of sitting.
Try the office of inconvenience. As odd as it sounds it actually works. Making the printer just that little further away so you have to walk, taking the stairs, having the cups away from the water fountain. These are small adjustments which really help. Remember as humans we are designed to move. Oil/ lubrication is generated through out the body by movement to help the soft tissue and bone on bone interactions.

3. Shift the circulation
Squeezing your bottom muscle together will whilst sitting in the chair will improve blood supply around your low back and help strengthen your bottom muscles. These are important muscles as they act as the foundations for your spine when sitting and standing. They are some of the large stabilising muscles of the body and need to be regularly conditioned.

So how can Physio 4life help?
Pilates: Catia and the team are here to offer a full Pilates based examination along side mat based and reformer exercises to help your spine stay healthy. Their exercises are used to strengthen not only the core but the upper torso to help restore balance within the body.

Physiotherapists: a surprising amount of our case load involves desk based aches and pains. Your physiotherapist can help educate you on the correct sitting posture and general alignment to keep you pain free. Mobilisations and manipulations can also be used to free your joints from any stiffness and pain associated with poor posture!

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