Are you experiencing neck pain and/or headache in the morning and at the end of a busy desk day? The pain in the shoulder area just would not leave you alone while working? Do your partner/ parents/ family keep on telling you that your posture is terrible, and you just find it hard to “sit up properly”?
So is your posture causing the pain in your neck and shoulder?
That is right. Your posture is not the cause of your pain! It is the PERIOD OF TIME that you spent in that posture.
And yes they are different.
Our bodies, our backs, our necks, are designed to move, to bend forwards and backwards. In each of these movements, some structures are contracting and some are under stretch. When you slouch in your chair, and poking your neck forwards, your muscles and joints at the back of your neck and upper back are under stretch.
Now I would like you to place your palm down on the table and bend one of your knuckles backwards gently till the end of range, feeling a bit stretchy there. It doesn’t feel too bad does it? What if we hold in that position for 5minutes? What if we hold it for 5 hours? 40 hours?
That’s what we do these days with our back and neck when we work at the desk. We put our neck and back under stretch, 8 hours a day, without toilet breaks, for weeks, years, decades. Over time, our muscles and joints are strained and weakened in the back, and we find it hard to even straighten up the back and turn the neck.
So yes, your posture is CORRELATED to your neck and back/ shoulder pain, but it is THE TIME you spend in it.
What can we do about it?
Reduce your time spent in “bad posture”.
- Have regular breaks working at the desk. More tea breaks, more toilet breaks. Just 1 minute standing up and zoning out to the window can also inspire more interesting ideas!
- Move your shoulders and neck, upper back. Roll your shoulders backwards drawing circles, turning your head around, stretch your back like your cat, or the cat next door! If you’re not sure, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages, we have heaps of tips that help you to maintain your ranges!
- Check the setup in your work station! Is the font of words on your screen large enough and comfortable for you from your seat? Are your hands reaching out far for the keyboard? Keep an eye on our coming up blogs for the ergonomic setup, or call and check with our practitioners today!
- Speak to a professional, a physio or an exercise physiologist! We are great at assessing your movement, your “posture” (form), and tailor a personalised program for you to make your day a lot better!
Let us know how you go with those tips! And we are always here to help if you have any questions!
Stay healthy and safe!
Molly Ren, Physiotherapist