Stay Fit While You Sit
Since 1960, America has experienced a shift in physical activity on the job. We have gone from a nation where 50% of the jobs required moderate physical activity to just 20%. Today, 80% of our jobs are sedentary or require only light physical activity. This shift in labor has resulted in average decline of 120-140 daily calories in physical expenditure, which has been accompanied by an increase in body weight.
This seismic shift in job-related physical activity has brought with it additional ramifications other than weight gain. Many people now deal with biomechanical problems such as repetitive strain or stress injuries, postural syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and numerous other pains to the neck, back, and even the legs. Many of these physical problems can be traced to sitting for extended periods of time. Specifically, they can be tied to improper posture adopted when using computers. Many people do not use proper posture, and improper posture will lead to physical problems over a period of time.
Postural Syndrome is a repetitive strain injury to the neck and thoracic vertebrae of the spine caused by the way you slump or slouch at your computer. Improper posture will cause your head to jut forward, your shoulders to hunch, and your abs will no longer be used to support your body. This will cause an unnatural hump in your upper back. Many people will initially feel tension in their upper back and neck, but what you are actually doing is putting your spine in an unnatural position for extended periods of time. This improper posture changes the spacing of your vertebrae over time causing subluxations or misalignments to the spine, and leading to pinched nerves or irritations to the nervous system.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is something most of us had never heard of prior to personal computers. This repetitive strain injury is closely related to computer use. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury where there is pressure on the median nerve, the nerve in the wrist that supplies feeling and movement to parts of the hand. Pressure on this nerve can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers. Proper posture and exercises can help you avoid or alleviate this condition. Improper positioning of your computer keyboard and mouse can help bring on this injury. Try to avoid the pullout computer keyboard trays. Their low height, and close proximity to your body force your wrists into awkward angles causing damage to the median nerve. Ideally, your computer keyboard will be positioned out in front of you allowing your forearms to rest naturally on your desktop, and remove the weight and stress from your wrists. Your monitor should be raised high enough so that you will view it naturally without having to continually be looking down to see it. Viewing your monitor with your head up will also help to keep your posture better.
Top Repetitive Strain Injuries
Prolonged sitting, common at many desk jobs, can lead to many repetitive strain injuries and other conditions. Here are some of the top injuries we treat patients for at Kempsville Chiroprarctic on a regular basis.
- Neck Pain
- Upper Back Pain
- Headaches (90% of headaches originate in the neck)
- Arm Pain (pain, numbness, tingling, burning)
- TMJ: (jaw joint) problems from a forward head posture.
- Lower Back Pain
- Leg Pain (sciatic pain, leg numbness, tingling, burning buttock pain)
- Shoulder pain (due to shoulders rounding forward)
- Digestive Problems (indigestion, heart burn, reflux)
- Depression and anxiety
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Hip pain
Poor posture has a negative effect on your spine, nervous system, and overall health. Your spine houses and protects your nervous system. The nerves that exit your spine control every function, organ, cell, and system in your body. Poor posture changes the biomechanics of your spine and will interfere with the function of your nervous system.
Only 10% of your nervous system feels pain, which means you can have spinal and nervous system problems going on for years and not know about it. The other 90% is associated with functions like breathing, digesting food, and sleeping — all the things you do on a daily basis without thinking about. These are all controlled by your nervous system. Pain is a warning that something is wrong with the functioning of your nervous system.
Tips for better spinal health and posture
- Core and stability exercises, as well as flexibility, prevents spinal problems. Please view our core exercise video for core exercises and stretches to properly strengthen and stabilize your spine and prevent injuries.
- Consider sitting on an exercise ball at work instead of a chair since it will require you to use your core more to stabilize your body.
- Take regular breaks from work to stand up and move around. Consider walking while talking to a colleague about an issue instead of always sitting down to talk. A height adjustable standing desk will allow you to work while standing up and sitting down.
- Make it a habit to sit properly every time you sit at your desk. Adjust your workspace so your computer monitor and keyboard are properly positioned.
- Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis is important to the care of you spine and nervous system. This is particularly important for those who regularly sit for prolonged periods of time.
Call us at 757.467.5258 to arrange an appointment with Kempsville Chiropractic. Many of us spend prolonged periods of time sitting in front of a computer at work. In addition to helping you deal with your pain, we will be glad to assess your working conditions and give you suggestions to improve your working conditions. If any of your friends and family can benefit from this article, please recommend this article to them.
- Can Sitting Too Much Kill You?
- You Were Born to Move
- Neck Pain
- Back Pain
- Sciatica, Leg Pain, & Lower Back Pain
What's wrong with this picture?
As we can easily see, this lady is experiencing neck pain. After reading the article above you should be able to spot a couple reasons contributing to her pain.
First, her keyboard is very close to her body which will force her wrists into awkward angles whenever she uses the keyboard. In addition, her wrists will be forced to bear the weight of her upper body.
Additionally we can see that the top of the monitor is barely up to her chin. This means she will be constantly looking down which will naturally cause her to lean forward. This will put stress on her neck and upper back.
Now I'm sure right now she is thinking she could use a massage! While a massage would be great, she should also be seeing a chiropractor for the health of her spine and nervous system. Fortunately she can get both at Kempsville Chiropractic!
Call us at 757.467.5258 to arrange an appointment with Kempsville Chiropractic. You can also contact us using our appointment form.
Dr. Lombardozzi and our other doctors are also available to lecture about this and other health matters at your place of business. To arrange for a health lecture, please contact our Community Relations Director at 757.818.4699.
© 2013-2016 Kempsville Chiropractic
These articles are the property of Kempsville Chiropractic. They may not be reused without permission. You are welcome to link to this article. Kempsville Chiropractic has been proudly serving Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia since 1996.
The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
Contact us at 757.467.5258 to set an appointment.