Our current physical state is a result of the thousands of mouse clicks made while slouching and text messages checked with heads bent forward. For many people this results in persistent shoulder and neck pain through to severe pain in hands and arms which can affect sleep and everyday life.
Ultimately, we don’t want to just minimise this pain; we want to get rid of it and prevent it from returning, so how can we overcome it for good?
Naomi Bickley from Why be Stressed says the answer lies in improving our daily movements and habits to reshape our body’s position and posture.
She recommends that we pick one of the tips from below and stick with it for a week. Then add another and another. Slowly habit changes will improve your posture and move towards a healthier and pain free future.
How: For every hour at work, schedule a one minute stretch break. Set a timer on your phone for this.
Move gently until you feel a mild amount of stretch in the chosen area. As your muscle relaxes move into it a little further. Breathe, don’t bounce.
Hold for 30 seconds and enjoy it. Relax your face; if you are grimacing you are probably pushing it too far. Then stretch the other side.
Benefit: This will decrease your risk of injuries, move your joints through their full range of motion, and enable your muscles to work more effectively. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
How: While having your stretch or mobility break, take the opportunity to look into the distance, out of a window is ideal, but across the office will do.
Try giving your eyes as much of a break as possible by reducing your screen time while on breaks and in the evening.
Benefit: Our eyes are only able to relax when closed or gazing into the distance. So add this habit when talking on the phone. This will help to prevent eye strain, dry eyes and headaches.
It is important to move all your joints through their full range of motion, multiple times a day. If you neglect to do this, over time you will find your joints creaky and restricted.
How: Multiple times a day lift your arms over head, make large arm circles for bonus points. Lift them up in the air and have a good stretch at the same time. You can build this into your daily habits, by touching the top of every door frame you walk through.
Benefit: Supple, healthy shoulder joints that don’t creak and crack.
Your mouse arm makes thousands of micro contractions and works for many hours per week. Sharing the mouse use between both sides will really help with those nagging aches in your shoulders.
It is one of the more frustrating changes to make, but if you train yourself to be ambidextrous with your mouse, you share the load evenly across your body.
Benefit: It is incredible the effect this has not just in your shoulder and arm, but all the way through your back.
When your chin is jutting out towards your phone or computer screen, all the muscles at the base of your neck are under pressure in supporting your head.
Start noticing this habit and adjust it.
How: Draw your chin in towards your chest. This should give you instant relief through the back of your neck and even into your jaw.
Benefit: Better posture and alignment which relieves the load off the muscles through the back of your neck and shoulders.
Before Chin tucked in