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January 04, 2021 3 min read

Your posture at your desk can be a big factor in any neck and shoulder pain you’re experiencing. 

Stretch your chest muscles - loosen your rib cage. 


What’s the use of straining our back and back-of-the-shoulder muscles to try and sit up straight, when we have tight, wound-up chest and front-of-the-shoulder muscles pulling us forward? Actively work to release your rib cage. 

See that your seat is at the correct position - in line with the correct position of the monitor. Use a head set rather than a handset for your phone. 


 Practice the cobra

 


The really important thing, is to wake-up those under-used back muscles as much as possible. While we’re sitting hunched over all day, the muscles in the mid/lower-mid part of our back can start to switch off after a while. The cobra (a yoga pose) is great for activating those middle-back muscles.



Try to find a 2- or 3-minute window when you can do this every day. It may be before you leave for work. If you’re in an office, it may be sometime during the day. 

If you can start to do this regularly, you’ll start to notice it’s easier to sit up straight at work, because the postural muscles in your back will be stronger.

Avoid pulling back your shoulders. This is not good for your posture; it also will create other muscle tension or imbalances. Use your abdominals to keep your back straight and let your shoulder blades drop down and towards each other (gently).

Think: drop your shoulders and keep a straight back. And if you can practically touch the tops of your shoulder blades together, you’re doing it wrong.

Do some ‘good posture’ exercises
 If you think of your posture muscles like any other muscle, it’s obviously unrealistic to go from ‘bad’ posture all day to perfect posture all day – those underused postural muscles will get fatigued.

Image credit www.erikdalton.com

Instead, set an alarm on your phone or outlook calendar for three times a day, and try to sit in a better position for five minutes. Once five minutes becomes easy, add a minute, and then another.

When you’re doing this, it’s better to go towards better posture than past it. When you’re not used to sitting correctly, it’s easy to overcorrect and go too far. Make all the changes subtle and your body will adapt more quickly, getting used to being upright, until it will start to feel weird to slouch or hunch over.

You don’t run for ten miles the first time you put on your runners , so don’t expect your posture muscles to be able to work for eight hours when they haven’t been working at all.

 Use a rubber band or post-it to remind you.
While it’s true that you can’t expect to sit in good posture all day from day one, you should still try to avoid slouching for eight hours as well.

It’s easy to forget about your shoulders when you’re busy or stressed, so using a trigger to remind yourself is a great way to create new habits.

Wear a rubber band on your wrist, or put a post-it note on the side of your monitor and when you see it, remember to  breath deeper , look away at a distant object to relax your eyes and sit up a little straighter.

Do some gentle exercises to relax your eyes - your eyes get quite strained from the continuous staring at the computer screen - remember to blink to lubricate your eyes. Look in to sourcing glasses now available on the market with a blue tint to protect your eyes from the glare. If your computer does not have a filter - check this app out https://justgetflux.com/

Breathe – deep breathing is an instant posture fixer. 
Holding your breath is common when stressed, and can do all sorts of damage to neck and shoulder muscles.

When you catch yourself slouching (maybe your rubber band reminded you?) or holding your breath/stressed:

Take a deep breath into your stomach. Focus on allowing the breath to go down into your stomach and let your shoulders open up in the front, instead of lifting your rib cage up and letting your shoulders roll forward.

As you exhale, let go of the tops of your shoulders and let your shoulder blades drop down your back.

Apply These Tips

Stretch your chest every time you go make a tea, or do the cobra every day when you get home from work.

Wear a rubber band or set a timer for your five minutes, three times a day.

Your posture at your desk can be a big factor in any neck and shoulder pain you’re getting. The Cobra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU0wJ0OTopU


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