Sitting, you are probably doing it wrong

Sitting, you are probably doing it wrong

Do you have tightness is your upper back and neck from sitting at a desk all day?

It’s a pretty normal problem to have. In fact, every time I meet someone who works a desk job and doesn’t have pain or tightness in their upper back or neck, I want to ask them about their secret.

It’s like those people you see at the gym deadlifting 300 pounds with terrible form. How are they not injured? While they’re momentarily impressive, no one on Earth can fight the fact that consistent bad mechanics in anything will result in injury. That includes sitting at the desk.

Generally speaking, people at their desks are looking slightly down, with their shoulders rounded forward and their head protruding slightly.

These problems aren’t limited to your hours at work. If ,you’re on your morning commute, you are likely looking at your phone playing games or whatever the kids are doing these days like this-

All in all most people spend too much of their days in one of the above postures and not enough in this one:

As a result people tend to have pain or tightness in their chest, traps, and upper back. 

The good news is that these symptoms can be relieved with a few easy exercises, but first we need to address prevention. Probably the most important thing you can do to prevent techneck (a name my dad made up for this problem) is to bring consciousness to your posture.

If you start thinking about how you are sitting, and make a mental note to sit with your chest up and back straight, I’ll bet you see just as much relief as switching to an ergonomic chair.  Doing both would obviously yield the best results, but I know that not everyone works in a place where it is socially acceptable to sit on a bosu ball.

But, beyond being more conscientious about your posture, there are a few more quick things you can do:

1)   Make sure your computer is at eye level, which prevents you from looking down all day.

2)   If you’re in your car, sit up straight and then adjust your rearview mirror for that posture. That way you always have a reminder to not slouch down and accidently kill yourself.

3)   Stand as much as possible. If you are using your phone, bring it to eye level, instead of bringing your head to the phone level.  

Maybe we’re past the point of prevention. Let’s assume for a minute that poor posture is already negatively affecting your physical well-being. Here is a routine you can to do relieve it:

The Stress Reliever Circuit—breathe and relax through every stretch

 Chest stretch: 3 sets x 30 seconds for each side

Trap stretch: 3x 30 seconds for each side

Levator scapulae stretch: 3 x30 seconds for each side

Chicken heads: 3x10 

The entire routine takes about 10 minutes. But the best part about is that it can be done from anywhere, with no equipment, without breaking a sweat. If you are having serious issues, I’d recommend doing it three times a day.

If you have pain (more than tightness) doing any of these stretches please consult a doctor.

 Remember the most important thing you can is bring consciousness to your posture. Try to imagine that you are a puppet on a string and your head is always being pulled up towards the sky.

Do you have any questions? Send them to me at jd@jakedermer.com.

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