There actually are known activities that will help improve posture and general health and help reduce back and neck pains while sitting on a regular office chair. Do you know what they are? Here’s our beginning list of five items… add to it over the next month and before long, you’ll be pain-free!
1. Fix Your Posture
Setting up an ergonomically sound desk is one of the most important ways you can improve posture at work. Unfortunately, not many companies have a budget to make sure every employee is fitted properly to his/her desk.
If your company can’t go the extra distance for you, it simply means you’ll have to do it yourself. With the aide of your favorite work buddy, take pictures of each other at your desks. Take a side view, back view and front view if you can.
Then with the aide of a ruler, take the side view picture and draw a dot in the middle of your ear, your neck, your shoulder, your mid back, and your hip. Connect the lines. How straight is the line? The straighter it is, the less body pain you’ll have. The more jagged the line is, the more pain you’ll have from your body not sitting in an ergonomically correct fashion.
Make changes in your posture, in the height of the chair, in the placement of your elbows on armrests, and in the placement of the computer screen until the line approximates vertical. You’ll see a big difference in pain levels within a few days from this change.
What a lot of people seem to forget when they have body pain is that if you increase the oxygen level in the blood, the pain will decrease. This is a major reason why pregnant women who are planning a natural childbirth are taught breathing exercises. The added oxygen decreases the pain during labor.
Being at your desk at work with body pain can sometimes seem the pain is just as strong as labor pains! Nevertheless, if you purse your lips as if you’re going to whistle and take a breath in through the pursed lips and then let it out, you will be increasing your oxygen levels. This pursed breathing method is often used for those with lung disorders to increase their oxygen levels.
Try it when you have pain. Repeat it three times and then go back to normal breathing. If you feel more relaxed or if your pain level decreased, then it worked.
3. Hands Over Head, Grab Back of Chair at Headrest
One of the worst things you can have happen at work while sitting in your chair is a forward head posture. Once your head goes forward, it sends stress signals to the brain. Your respiration rate will also go up and your body will try to get more oxygen. With your head forward, the muscles of the neck will contract and they will be stressed for the hours you are in that position. They will tire and this will cause greater amounts of neck pain.
The big key to shutting down neck pain is to change your ergonomic position; that is, the position of your body while sitting. Make it ergonomically correct. Catch yourself at your desk during the day with your neck that has already crept forward with this repositioning exercise: 1) While sitting at your desk, extend both arms over your head., 2) Now bend your arms at the elbows and grab the back top of the chair at about your head level., 3) Hold this position for a count of 10.
Repeat this exercise at least once an hour daily. You’ll start to experience less and less neck pain.
4. Magnesium Chloride (Topical)
Instead of hiding candy inside your desk drawer, hide a bottle of magnesium chloride liquid along with some cotton balls. When you experience body pain such as in your neck or low back, soak a cotton ball in the magnesium chloride and apply it topically to the area of pain. Relief should be within minutes.
5. Don’t Just Sit There, Exercise in Spurts
Everyone can do exercise spurts at work. It’s fun to do, and you can even make them look like you’re on task.
- While sitting up straight at your desk, cross one arm over the other, twisting your body during the movement.
- Keep your head in line with the direction that your body is going in.
- While you’re holding this position for 10 to 20 seconds, you can speak to your colleague about the upcoming project you’re both working on.
This exercise will help relieve mid back pain.
Ever thought of doing push ups at work? No, you won’t have to get on the floor to do them; simply use your desk as the stabilization point for your hands.
- Stand away from the desk about 18-24 inches, facing the desk.
- Lower your upper body down and then up.
- Since this push up is easier to do than a regular push-up, you can repeat it 10 times.
This exercise will relieve overall body fatigue.
After the push-ups, you can do dips to firm up your triceps. Everyone wants great arm tone so they can wear swimsuits and no sleeve shirts in the summer. Not everyone can realistically wear them unless they have toned triceps.
- To do this exercise, stand close to your desk with your buttocks facing the desk but about 4 inches away from the desk.
- Your feet should be about 12 inches forward of your buttocks in a comfortable position that allows your knees to drop your body weight and bring it back up again to a neutral position.
- Make sure your desk chair is out of the way.
- Then reach your arms back and place them on the desktop behind your body.
- Now dip down and return to neutral. Note: you don’t have to dip down far at first. As you get more comfortable, it will come easier to dip farther down. 6) Repeat 10 times.
This exercise will help relieve some neck and shoulder pain while firming up your triceps muscles.
Sitting at work for long hours at a time is not good for your health. Remember that you MUST move during the work shift. Your body essentially turns to stone (I’m exaggerating) if you don’t move. Your joints stiffen and before long, it takes a lot to regain the mobility.
When you use some of the new technologically advanced chairs, your feet and core muscles are balanced. Your blood is circulating instead of being stagnant. You have movement – and that means life!
Our new chair does all the above for you, no need for the at work exercises, just sit and be active. Coming soon.