This is an article I wrote over two years ago, but I wish to revive it, as the epidemic of poor movement capacity and related pathology continues, despite attempts to improve ergonomics. Perhaps laptops and smart phones are exacerbating the issue.
Here it is:
Welcome to the daily grind: 9:00am to 5:00pm in the cubicle, the professional desk jockey practices his craft.
If stress from your job is not an issue, or occupational hazards don't pose enough of a threat to your life, then it is guaranteed that anyone working 40 hour weeks will be subjected to the dangers of overuse injuries.
From athlete to journeyman to CEO the rule applies: if your body remains in one position for a prolonged period of time, it is subjected to the rigours of immobility, nerve damage and pain, which seriously degrade quality.
For this post, we will focus specifically on desk jobs. We have glued our strong gluteal muscles to our seats and committed ourselves to the harsh blue light of desktops that force us to flex our spines and strain our big heads forward, demanding a serious amount of uncomfortable and unnatural stress on our joints.
Thus, we enter in the occupational therapist, who provides ergonomical solutions to our predicament. Special keyboards, nice grips on mice, fancy chairs and a set regimen of 90 degree angles to adopt (see Kelly Starrett's video for more on 90 degrees).
This is all fine and dandy, however this humble writer does not think that it will circumvent the pending anatomical issues that lie ahead. Then you have your individuals who have improved on the chair of death and subjected themselves to standing workstations, or Swiss ball bouncing fun.
Now we're getting somewhere. But let's not forget that part of the issue is not just the chair which forces the hip flexors into a compromised position, elongating the glutes and twanging on the sciatic nerve to send pain from spine to leg. People have these SI joint issues from sitting, which is very clear, but assuming a standing position all day will inevitably put the body in a tough spot.
Standing is better than sitting, and bouncy balls are good, so long as you keep bouncing (see the post below for more on this). Yet at some point, one must realize that the job is still the issue. I am certainly not going to sit here and spout off about paradigm shifts and society's addiction to work. That would be for a more philosophical post. We are here to talk functional, and pain free. If your job consists of a day of sitting and then a quick break for coffee, a sit-down lunch and perhaps, if lucky, another break in the afternoon, the result is potentially 7.5 hours of immobility and knotted, unsupple, soft tissues.Therefore if you have read this far, I will present you with a game-changing idea: Motion is Lotion.
Don't find yourself stuck in any position for a long period of time! I give a lot of credit to Kelly Starrett, DPT, for his contributions to my mobility woes. Visit his website if you would like to save yourself on thousands of PT/chiro treatments. Mobility Wod - see this link for more in-depth discussion on matters which I have barely touched on. I will post his visit and lecture at Google below, but for now, since you have kept reading, here is the skinny:
1. Chest up, ears away from shoulders.2. Braced spine - sternum in line with belly button, butt softly contracted.3. Arms externally rotated (think standing savasana)
Plus a bonus- for those of you who like to sit.
At long last, watch this video (or listen if at work).