If you haven’t checked it out already, the office is currently running the 12 Days of Fix-mas. The goal is to give people holiday themed tips to try at home for common aches and pains. Today’s video discussed the proper way to sit at a desk to minimize the effects that sitting for extended periods of time can have on your body. If you want to catch today’s post, or any other post from now until Christmas Eve, they can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/RochesterChiroTherapy/.
Many jobs today require people to sit for 8+ hours. When sitting for long periods of time, if we are not conscious of our posture, our body begins to adapt to the position it is in the most. Unfortunately, the longer you sit, the more likely you are to end up with overused muscles, increased pressure on joints, nerve irritation, and poor postural habits that perpetuate pain into the future. I wanted to dive deeper into why sitting can cause pain in the neck, mid back, and low back.
Although there are numerous health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, the most noticeable types of pain when sitting for extended periods are headaches, low back pain, sciatic pain, and carpal tunnel.
Headaches are common among desk workers for two reasons. The first is due to the strain on the eyes from staring at a computer screen. There are glasses that can be used to filter out the harmful amounts of blue light emitted from computer screens, helping to deter headaches, and eye strain. (See Felix Grey). The other cause of pain is due to the common position of having your head forward when looking down at a computer. The further the head leans forward away from the body, the greater the force on the neck musculature. These musculature imbalances will cause fatigue, pain, and poor posture.
Low back pain is very common in sedentary people. Sitting has been shown to have more pounds of pressure on the low back than standing. Prolonged sitting will damage the joints in the low back, weaken the discs (or cushions between each vertebrae), and predispose you to sciatic pain or disc herniations. Staying focused on proper sitting form and going to a chiropractor for a chiropractic adjustment can help relieve this form of pain naturally.
Carpal tunnel is also very common in patients whose job requires them to sit at a desk and use a computer all day. The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel just below the hand at the wrist. There are many tendons, ligaments, nerves, arteries and veins that run through this small area. There is also a thick tendon that runs across the top of all these important bodily tissues that keeps them in place and slightly protects them. Direct pressure, overuse of the muscles in the forearm, or swelling in the wrist can close this already small tunnel and irritate the nerves that run through it. To protect this delicate area, it is recommended that you DO NOT rest your wrist directly on the corner of your desk. This is the type of direct pressure, that after countless hours of work, will result in carpal tunnel symptoms. Resting the entire forearm on your desk with the keyboard pushed slightly further away is ideal. Since helping patients avoid surgery is of the utmost importance, visiting your chiropractor for some conservative, natural treatment methods can help, but again, the best “treatment” of carpal tunnel is to avoid positions that can cause it in the first place.
Thanks for following along. The 12 Days of Fix-Mas is our way of giving back to the chiropractic community of Rochester, New York this holiday season.
We encourage you to comment below with any questions or concerns for Dr. Stephen Boronczyk, of Rochester Chirotherapy | Chiropractic Clinic.