By Marina White, Kinesiologist
They say that sitting is the new smoking, and the average hours of sitting per person is on the rise. Don’t let your desk job affect your health. Read on to see how YOU can eliminate joint pain and stiffness.
1. Take Microbreaks
Avoid long periods of sitting. Prolonged sitting can produce stiff, painful joints. We suggest taking microbreaks- which is essentially taking lots of little breaks to compensate for too much time spent in chairs. It is not enough to just get up to go the photocopier, or take a bathroom break. You need to do something significantly stimulating with microbreaks. It is recommended to take these breaks every 20 to 30mins at work.
2. Proper Chair Sitting
When you do sit, simple measures to reduce strain on the knee joint include; avoiding chairs that are low to the ground or couches in which the sitter “sinks.” Sitting on a pillow may help with this. Try avoiding or minimizing crossing your legs when seated as well.
This can be included in your microbreak. Stretching the muscles in your chest, neck and shoulders can help prevent slouching at your desk. Stretch for at least 2mins in each position.
Doing exercises to strengthen your neck will help keep the neck in a proper position. Back strengthening exercises will decrease the shoulders from slumping forward allow you stay in a better upright posture position.
5. Placement of Your Computer Screen
Make sure the screen is set to your eye level. You don’t want it to high or too low (looking at an upwards or downwards angle) where your neck will not be in a neutral position. Increased pressure on the neck joints by looking up or down for extended periods of time can cause pain and tension, which can in turn lead to headaches.
Use a headset at work instead of answering the phone via the handset. Repeatedly answer the phone and holding the phone between your shoulder and head, as we tend to do, also increases pressure on the joints of the neck and creates tension in the shoulder and neck muscles. Decrease the amount of time texting or watching videos on your phone (you should be working!). Spending too much time looking down at your phone puts increase pressure on the joints of the neck, which can lead to headaches.
7. Find Out What’s Wrong by Seeing a Specialist
There isn’t a faster way to END joint pain and stiffness than by going to see a kinesiologist. Getting to see a specialist means you’re going to get very fast access to care that will soothe and relax those tight aching muscles, loosen and lubricate stiff, stuck and painful joints, as well as strengthen your body so that you can go back to doing the things that you love.
Combine all of the “tips” in this guide with a trip to see a kinesiologist, and you will see a dramatic drop in the pain and stiffness you may be currently suffering from.