In our practice we see far more problems caused by static postures due to hours sitting at a desk, driving and general inactivity. Research suggests that up to a third of office workers even eat at their desks rather than taking a lunch break. Prolonged sitting can subject you to the following negative effects:
- Loss of the normal spinal curvature
- Increased pressure on the intervertebral discs
- Increased neural tension
- Stretching, lengthening and weakening of supporting back ligaments
- Shortening of important postural muscles leading to weakness, tightness and imbalances
In some workplaces standing desks are being introduced, however replacing all-day sitting with all-day standing will probably not prevent the problems we see as a result of prolonged periods of static postures.
The back is not the only area that is being placed under excessive strain. Phrases such as "Text Neck" and "SMS thumb" have become commonplace in physiotherapy circles.
So, what is the answer? Here are some tips to help you avoid the negative effects of sitting and general immobility.
Moving around regularly and breaking from sitting positions can help. It sound simple but who really follows this advice? Why not challenge yourself to get up for 2 minutes every 60 minutes to have a quick stretch and a walk around the office. Commit to this for the next month and re-assess the effect on your general comfort and productivity.
We can reduce the risks associated with being sedentary at work by keeping fit and active outside of work. Such exercise should include both cardiovascular training and strength/flexibility training. You will be amazed at what effect just 10-20 minutes, 3 times a week can have on your overall wellbeing.
Everyone is different - height, weight, posture etc. Get someone with a good understanding of desk or workstation set up, as well as lifting and carrying at work to have a look at your setup. This may reduce your risk of experiencing problems. Discussing any concerns you have with your line manager or a qualified Physiotherapist can be the first step to staying fit for work.
Please forward this email on to any colleagues who you feel may benefit from this information.
Most work related injuries will improve with a combination of good advice, exercise and treatment.
If you are experiencing any symptoms, or would like further advice on the management of work related injuries, please contact us to book an assessment.