Long hours in front of a computer or sitting at a desk forcing the spinal column out of its normal gentle curves into an ugly stoop. This is called hunchback or “kyphosis”.
Of course, the aesthetic problems are obvious. Not only do you appear older, you sag with the pain in the neck, back or shoulders, but the cost you pay when you don’t sit right is astounding!
- Your spine and bones are thrown out of alignment, causing more stress
- Your joints rub against each other excessively, wearing them out
- Your stretched or tightened shoulder and chest muscles burn or ache
- Your joint ligaments are stressed and weakened
- Your muscles can’t work properly because the joints aren’t in right position, so you spend more energy on your activities and get tired more easily
- Neck and back pain force your posture to change for the worse – leading to other pains and aches in your joints
Altogether miserable, wouldn’t you say?
But there’s an easy way out without leaving your desk job: Learn to stop hurting yourself while you’re working.
First, just become aware of the harm you’re causing to your body. I suggest you use one minute to focus on how you’re sitting right now. Visualise an imaginary mirror placed in front of you. See those stoop-shoulders, the head poking forwards, your neck stretched painfully?
Awareness is half the battle won. Repeat this simple exercise once every hour. Before long you will unconsciously straighten your shoulders, lift your head and expand your chest with a deep breath, letting the air fill and expand your chest. Notice how good it feels? Repeat this whenever you feel a neck twinge. Consider setting yourself a timer reminder.
Another easy and highly recommended technique is to add back extension and strengthening exercises to your regimen (if you have one!). Make an appointment with us for a posture analysis and some tips on how to straighten and strengthen your back through exercise and awareness.
It is common for many gym-goers to focus on the “show-off” muscles like chest, abs and arms. These exercises strengthen just the front of the body, and will worsen your stoop. Add leg and back exercises to evenly strengthen muscles all over your body.
Yet another tip? Try Pilates, yoga or stretching classes. This core-based programs of fitness and body toning leaves you relaxed, flexible and graceful.
And finally, do re-design your workspace and work habits. Make sure to get up, stretch or walk about once an hour. Is your monitor where you can see it while sitting straight? Is your chair at the right height? What about your legroom? Are your arms straight?
Following these simple tips can go a long way in preventing the humpback from surfacing. Why not call us, your local physiotherapists for help with your hunch? Let us add years of pain-free life and take off years from your appearance while we’re at it.
Overcoming a stitch
Most runners know that sharp twinge of agony that hits them in the middle of a run. It’s far more common on the right side and seems to be related to your breathing and your food intake.
More recent studies indicate that the cause of a stitch is an irritation of the double-layered membrane lining the abdominal cavity. Between the two layers, this membrane contains a small amount of lubricating fluid to enable your organs to shift as your body moves.
The irritation can be triggered by unnatural pressure from your organs – such as running on a full stomach. Sugary drinks (even fruit juice) can reduce the amount of lubricating fluid between the layers of this membrane.
To manage a stitch, try stretching your torso up as far as you can, smoothly and thoroughly. Slow your pace for a few minutes. Massage or hold your abdomen firmly while breathing deeply. Make sure you don’t eat a large meal or consume sugary drinks within 2-3 hours before a run – opt for light snacks and water.
Stretch whilst taking your morning shower. The hot water will help loosen up your muscles, whilst the stretching will help you release stored tension.
If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
~ Bruce Lee
Funny thought of the day
Figure skating is like walking in cursive.