With COVID19 increasing the amount of home office setups, the musculoskeletal effects of prolonged sitting seem to have become even more of an issue in our community. With this shift in work environment, a lot of the incidental exercise that we used to have in our day to day lives has been removed and replaced with more sitting.
Whilst the government regulations are slowly easing, some of us may continue to do at least a proportion of work from our home office, and for some this may become the new normal. So let’s dig a little deeper into some of the musculoskeletal issues that can arise from prolonged sitting.
What are some common side effects of prolonged sitting that present to a clinic like ours?
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Upper back tightness
- Mid-back pain
- Jaw pain
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder, elbow and wrist symptoms
- Feeling sluggish, tired and fatigued
So, for anyone who’s lifestyle has become more desk/sitting based here are some simple tips for reducing the musculoskeletal side effects of prolonged sitting.
1. Stand up and walk around – move your body every 45 minutes. It will help your body and your concentration. It doesn’t have to be much – a small walk and some easy stretches!
2. Invest in a foam roller – Using a wide foam roller – place it under your thoracic spine (upper back) and roll out – feel the tension dissipate!
3. Try a stand-up desk – alternate between sitting and standing positions – often it’s not our actual posture that is the problem, it’s staying in that position for lengthy amounts of time. Variability is key! Also, Research has shown that people are more productive when using stand up desks.
4. Get a peanut trigger ball – You can buy a purpose made peanut shaped massage ball or, simply buy 2 tennis balls and tape them together. To use, place the ball on your upper back and either press back against a wall or lay on the ground – this will help to reduce stiffness in your back
5. Book yourself a quality massage – if you find you are getting headaches it could be caused by overactivity of your neck muscles. Having regular myotherapy may be one way of helping to decrease the frequency of headaches caused by this.
6. Check your setup/have a professional help with your setup – make sure that you have a good ergonomic desk setup that limits the strain on your body – see our previous blog for specific details on this
7. Exercise regularly – make sure that you are getting at least 30 minutes a day of exercise to keep healthy and reduce the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle
If you are experiencing any of these side effects already, don’t hesitate to book in with one of our skilled physiotherapists who can help treat and manage injuries associated with sustained sitting postures 🙂