The person who spends hours on end at the computer in a hunched up position and continually rotates to one side to answer his/her phone sets themselves up for a levy issues, including: low back pain, hip pain, neck, and shoulder issues. Below are easy ways to help rid the office worker of these issues in the office.
IN THE OFFICE
Problem #1: Spending all day in hip flexion while sitting in a chair can really tighten up the hip flexors and the spinal erectors which can excessively drive someone into an anterior pelvic tilt. Not only do we get thrown in this position but it also puts the glutes to sleep unable to posteriorly tilt the pelvis or properly perform hip extension.
Solution: Bring a pad or pillow with you to work and go down into a half kneeling stance forming a straight line from the knee up through the shoulder and on the opposite leg form a 90 degree angle at the knee. Tighten the glute on the down knee to stabilize hip. Rotate between sides. This position takes us out of hip flexion and puts us into hip extension stretching the hip flexors while teaching good upper hip stability through the glute.
Glute bridges can also be performed to help activate the glutes and promote hip extension. Simply lie on the ground with your knees bent and your weight on your heels. Squeeze your butt together, then drive your hips up to from a bridge in the hips to the ceiling.
Problem # 2: Within your office, there is always a phone to be answered. Having the phone on one side of you can force one to constantly rotate to one side more than the other. Overtime, this can build an imbalance between the internal and external obliques on opposite sides of the body and really build up a rotational deficit.
Solution: Simply placing your phone on the opposite side of you or rearranging your office time from time can help offset these rotational issues
Problem # 3: Those who are forced to stare at a computer all day typically suffer from a kyphotic posture (rounded back) and an excessive lordotic curve (lumbar hyperextension). First and foremost, due to the lordotic curve, our upper body compensates with a kypothic posture in order to keep the body upright. A usual forward head posture is often exhibited as well. The result is issues like neck pain, mid/low back pain, shoulder pain, and hip pain.
The following muscles are typically tight/hypertonic/shortened:
Upper body: pecs, upper traps, anterior delts, lats, subscapularis, sternocleidomastoid.
Lower body: hip flexors, erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, adductors, TFL/IT Band, Hamstrings, calves, peroneals, piriformis.
The following muscles are typically lengthened/inhibited/hypotonic:
Upper body: mid traps, lower traps, rhomboids, external rotators, neck flexors, posterior delt, serratus anterior, thoracic erectors.
Lower body: glute max, glute med, rectus abdominis (in some instances), obliques, tibialis anterior/posterior.
Solution: The first thing I tell all my clients who have a desk job (which is about all of them) is to stack their computer on top of some books or some yoga blocks. This will help keep one from hunching over and driving the head forward and down to look at the computer screen. Having something to look up at will also force you into more of an upright position.
Then, along with solution #1 the following exercises below can be incorporated with the use of a wall or chair in your office to help improve thoracic extension, pec length, and strengthen some of the lengthened/inhibited/hypotonic upper body musculature described above.
Part two of this series will directly look at what can be done in the gym to help improve these issues.
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