The majority of patients that we see in our office complaining of neck, mid-back, and low back pain, spend hours a day at their job sitting at a desk or computer. Sustaining any position for long periods of time places excess stress and tension on the muscles of the neck and back. Furthermore, if the ergonomics of our workplace is unfavorable, then additional strain is placed on our bodies, leading to a variety of musculoskeletal problems.
Ergonomics, “the science of designing user interaction with equipment and workplaces to fit the user”1 is a growing field because employers realize the importance it has on employees’ health and productivity. Proper ergonomic design leads to a decrease in repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel and tendonitis; over time this can lead to long-term disability. Click here to read my summary of how to improve the ergonomics at your workstation.
In addition to changing your work environment, I emphasized in the article above the importance of taking frequent breaks to stretch throughout the day. Being a newfound lover of yoga, I recommend many of my patients to incorporate yoga into their daily routine. Because of the stretching, core strengthening, and mediation that are involved, yoga is a great way to decrease both physical and emotional stress. For many people, it is difficult to find time in their day to fit in exercise or time to meditate and reflect.
Recently, I received an email from fitnessmagazine.com with various ways to sneak in exercise throughout the day. One particular article grabbed my attention: “5 Minute Yoga at Your Desk”. A series of short videos, this link shows you how to stretch and perform modified “yoga moves” right at your workstation, including a version of “downward dog”. I found this routine to be extremely useful for my patients that are experiencing pain associated with sitting long periods at their desk. Performing this short routine allows you to take a break from your workday to stretch the arms, legs, and spine, as well as give you some time to refresh and clear your mind of any stress. You can view the videos online here.
Ergonomics. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergonomics