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More tips for office workers who sit all day

Here at MPOC we see lots of patients with neck, shoulder, upper back pain/tightness and headaches who sit all day long at work. While Osteopathic treatment is a great way to relieve this pain and tension, it works best and is more longer lasting if used in conjunction with self management strategies that you can do day to day at work.

The human body was not designed to sit all day, it was designed for movement. So when we sit for long hours behind a desk our muscles and joints are not able to keep us upright and we inevitably fall into the typical slumped posture for prolonged periods.

This slumped posture results in strain to the shoulder, upper back and neck muscles and joints.

One of the main reasons we fall into the rounded shoulder/slumped posture is due to tight chest (pectoral) muscles.

This is why I always recommend to patients who work in an office environment to get up out of their chair every 30-60 minutes to do a chest stretch and get the body moving even if its only for 30 seconds. This just gives the area a break from the strained position (its very relieving!) and should lead to less build up of tension in the area over the day.

To do this stretch, rest your forearm against a doorframe or anything else you can lean against, keep your elbow at a right angle and lean your body forwards (don’t twist too much through torso). You may need to take a small step forward to keep balance. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, repeat on the other side.

desk pic

(Picture: Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Another important thing is to make sure your desk is set up correctly to suit you. If you have access to people that come to your workplace to do ergonomic assessments then I highly recommend you use this service. Alternatively, you can get a work mate to take photos of you sitting at your desk from different angles, which you can then take you your Osteopathy appointment and we can provide you with some simple advice based on what we see in the photos.

If your workplace offers sit to stand desks this is also a great option, and in my opinion will become commonplace not too far in the future.

If you would like to know more or require an appointment, then please do not hesitate to contact the clinic on 9908 2844 or 0421087564.

Jana Sarantis, Osteopath at Middle Park Osteopathic Clinic


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