Let’s face it, many of us spend too much time sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer monitor. What you may not realize is the way you sit can be causing damage to your body. Body strain doesn’t just come from high impact sports or over using our bodies. Strain can be caused by under-using our bodies, a condition that is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s world.
If you sit for too long a period of time, make sure you are sitting up straight and not hunched over (yes, your mother was right). Office Ergonomics matter! Poor posture can cause loss of mobility, strength and flexibility, all of which can lead to back issues later on. Good posture reduces the amount of strain on your back and neck, it helps to increase muscle tone in your core and builds good life long habits. By forcing yourself to sit and stand up straight, you are retraining your body to maintain proper balance and keeping your muscles in tone.
If you find yourself sitting or bending the same way for a period of time, bend in the opposite direction to balance the stress and relieve muscle tension. In addition, take some time each day to stretch your body. Roll your shoulders backwards, squeeze your shoulder blades together opening up your chest, roll your chin, and slowly stretch your head back to relive tension and loosen the muscles. Pay attention to any pain points or feeling of strain. When the body experiences pain, it’s trying to tell you something. By maintaining poor posture and sitting too long, you are only adding to the inflammation that is occurring.
Good posture means chest out, chin in, stomach tight when standing, walking, lifting and bending. The natural curve of the spine is designed to absorb the shocks and stresses of everyday life. Poor posture reduces those natural curves making the spine less effective and increases wear and tear on your body. The short version is – slouching decreases the structural stability of the spine. Like a house on a crumbling foundation, your spine will eventually become misaligned and less effective leading to poor overall body function.
It’s natural to shrug off minor aches and pains, but don’t! Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you are experiencing neck or back pain, visit one of our physical therapists to learn proper posture and do some stretching and exercises to help prevent a long term issue.