With everything happening in the world, working from home has become more common for jobs that wouldn't normally be at a desk. A good example is your family doctor. Doctors are now seeing more patients through virtual appointments meaning they are spending a lot more time sitting at a desk instead of running up and down the clinic halls. So what can we do on a daily basis to help optimise our new work environments and to maintain our good posture. Here are 5 easy and effective tips to help you posture, reduce muscle pain, and prevent injury.
1. Beware of Text Neck- an increasingly common cause of poor posture is due to texting or surfing on your phone. It happens when we hold our phones in front of us at waist height and then look down for long periods of time. What happens is our spine starts to adjust and curve in this direction. Over a long term period of time your spine can even begin to hold that structure. So what can you do? Reduce your screen time or hold your phone up at eye level.
2. Watch Your Desk Posture- when working at an office or behind a desk, it's all too easy to let your shoulders slouch forward. Your massage therapist and chiropractor are going to love you because you will be seeing them much more frequently because of the back pain that will occur. One of the easiest and best ways to help prevent poor posture from desk work is to ensure your back is always touching your chair. Don't lean forward! When you lean forward, your shoulders will follow. Also it's not a bad idea to keep in touch with your massage therapist (RMT) to keep your back muscles loose.
3. Save Your Heels For Special Occasions- this may not be what you want to hear but high heels push the base of your spine forward changing the natural evolutionary way the spine is supposed to rest. To avoid low back pain, save your heels for special nights out and try to avoid the every day use.
4. Buy A Good Mattress- we spend a good chunk of time in our beds. That means our mattress has a big impact on our spine as well. Soft mattresses don't support the spine and will actually allow a greater curvature (in the wrong way) to occur. Ever woken up with a sore back? It may be time to change your mattress to a good quality firm one.
5. Tone Your Abs- ok guys, this one is especially important for you as men tend to hold a lot of weight in the belly button area. Excess weight in the front pulls your spine forward increasing the low back/mid back curve. This causes a lot of strain on the spine. It's been proven time and time again that strengthening your core helps to support your spine. It also doesn't hurt that it helps to build a nice 6 pack.
Start with these tips and tricks to keep your back pain free and your posture great. If you feel like you need more help, reach out to your massage therapist/physio and they can help guide you towards some exercises that may help. If they feel like you may need more help, they will direct you to a naturopathic doctor or a chiropractor for a more detailed physical exam. Remember, prevention is key.