Long days at the office can cause our neck, shoulders, and back to ache. It seems hard to believe that working 9 to 5 can take a toll on the body. Dr. Kevin Mills, a physical therapist at USA Sports Therapy, explained that people are sitting at their desks for longer periods of time. There is a common misconception that injury can only occur from activity, but Dr. Mills explained that this is false.
USA Sports Therapy sees just as many cases for injuries related to activity as they do cases for injuries related to inactivity. Prolonged sitting while at work can cause aches with the potential to cause long-term injury to our bodies. Decreased mobility can lead to herniated disks in the back and neck, which can require extensive medical treatment.
While we sit in our offices typing away at computers, our bodies fall into a certain position. Our spine is often flexed, our neck positioned forward, and our shoulders hunched forward. We may assume that hitting the gym before or after work will counter act our immobility during the day, but Dr. Mills explained that this too is false. He explained the people shouldn’t be sitting 8 hours a day consecutively, and emphasized the importance of standing or getting a 5 to 10 minute walk whenever possible.
If taking a stroll during the workday isn’t possible, Dr. Mills suggests doing neck rolls and back bends to account for the position your body is in while working. Standing desks allow individuals to work while standing; thus avoiding the harmful position our bodies can fall into while we sit. However standing desks are an expensive solution. Regardless, finding time to stand during the workday is very important. Dr. Mills explained that within 90 seconds of standing your body starts a bunch of cascading effects that aid in your health. Keeping our bodies healthy outside of the office is just as important as when we are in the office.
Dr. Mills suggests three tips to dealing with work related pains:
- Move more! Try to stand up and walk around as much as possible during the workday. For every hour of sitting he recommends at least 10 minutes of standing or walking. Try taking the stairs or a longer route to get to your desk.
- Exercising and keeping your body strong is the number one way to prevent injury.
- Seek help as soon as possible. If you notice aches and pains that are lingering get them checked out sooner rather than later.
Dr. Kevin Mills is a board certified specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy at USA Sports Therapy. For more information about Dr. Mills visit http://www.usasportstherapy.com/dr-kevin-mills/
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