With an increasingly large percentage of workers spending their work hours sitting at computers, neck, shoulder, and back repetitive motion injuries are on the rise. We’re seeing more cases of chronic “mouse shoulder” and “computer back” than ever before.
“Mouse Shoulder?” “Computer Back?”
“Mouse shoulder” is a common repetitive motion injury associated with jobs involving a lot of computer use and results from sitting for long periods with your arm in an outreached position. The small, focused movements we use to move and click a mouse cause muscle fatigue. Your larger shoulder muscles kick in to compensate and cause tension in the shoulder, neck, and upper back.
“Computer back” is also a result of poor posture while working on a computer. This common postural syndrome, also known as posterior cervical dorsal syndrome, is marked by a forward-positioned head, rounded shoulders, and an excessive curve of the upper neck. “Computer back” commonly causes excessive muscle tension, joint dysfunction in the back, neck, sternum, and impaired diaphragm function.
Are you feeling tired, stiff, and sore? Does it seem like your back is bothering you more than usual? It's time to try some exercises at work. These are easy-to-do stretches that will help improve your posture, reduce back pain, and get rid of office fatigue. You can do these anywhere - even in the comfort of your own home!
6 Exercises to Do at Work
1) Stand Up
It may seem overly simple, but one of the best things you can do to relieve back pain and improve your posture is to stand up. The human body was created to be in motion, and our sedentary lifestyles have a cumulative negative effect on our health. Take mini-movement breaks throughout the day, at least once every hour, to help release tension and get blood flow to your entire body.
2) Bruegger’s Postural Relief Position
Stand or sit at the edge of your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Turn your feet out slightly and tuck your chin straight back slightly. Breathe deeply into your abdomen. Exhale while extending your arms and turning your palms outward. Raise your breastbone slightly and hold for five seconds. Repeat two to three times.
3) Neck Flex
Look straight ahead. Now look down at the floor and hold for 3 seconds. Look up at the ceiling, hold for 3. Turn your head very slowly to the right as far as you can. Hold for 3 seconds. Return your head to the center and hold for 3. Turn your head to the left and hold for 3 seconds. Finally, bring your head back to the center.
4) Shoulder Rolls
Sit or stand with the feet hip-width apart. Let the arms hang down at the sides of the body. Inhale and shrug the shoulders up towards the ears. Move your shoulders back, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Exhale and drop the shoulders back. Repeat ten times.
5) Fist to Fan
Hold your hands in front of you with palms facing downwards and make a fist with both hands. Open your hands and spread your fingers wide. Repeat five times.
6) Seated Back Curl
Sit on the edge of your chair, feet on the ground hip-width apart. Lift one leg and grab your shin with both hands. Bend forward and reach your nose to your knee. Relax and repeat on the other side.
These stretches are a great way to keep your blood flowing and ease stiffness. Daily movement and an intentional focus on healthy posture can prevent pain and discomfort in the long run.
At Vitality Integrative Wellness, we make it our mission to get to the root cause of chronic pain and design a wellness plan that brings you back to feeling like yourself. If you find yourself struggling with “mouse shoulder” or “computer back,” schedule your consult today and let us help you get back to feeling your best.