By Athlete's Care on July 05, 2013
Our world has become increasingly busy, and also more sedentary. So much of the day is spent either commuting or in the office, and free time at home becomes rare and valuable.
Often, one of the hardest things about undergoing a therapy and rehabilitation program for an injury is finding time to do the corrective exercises. There is no perfect substitute for an individualized exercise program from a therapist who knows your case, but there are some exercises and modifications that can be done while in a work environment.
First off, an ergonomic assessment of the workstation is important. In many cases, modifying the work environment will put your body in a more natural posture and reduce strain on the neck, shoulders and back.
Many times, typing on computers and using the phone handset adds to upper back, neck and shoulder tension. The shoulders round forward and the neck and chin jut out as we concentrate on the screen. Large movements are minimized as faxes and emails come directly to the desktop and walking is reduced. Setting a timer to remind us to move is one easy start, but also making sure that there is always a large glass of water on the desk ensures that movement will happen! To help bring the shoulders back and activate the stabilizers, drop arms to the sides of the chair and turn palms forward, ideally while doing a chin tuck at the same time.
For the low back, core strength is key. Core exercises can be done while seated with the addition of a SitDisc or small pillow. This mimics a stability ball but is easily transported and can be used on a normal chair. With an unstable surface the core is used in order to keep the body upright and still, adding a small challenge to desk work. A more challenging variation is seated leg lifts (while seated, lift knees as though marching) while maintaining upper body stability.
With these as well as many other exercises that are used to retrain muscle patterning, it's not necessarily about how many reps can be done, but rather the quality. In other words, it's not practice that makes perfect, it's perfect practice that makes perfect.
Article by Dr. Christina Voldner, Chiropractor at Athlete’s Care in the Beach