Article of the month: getting the office out of your spine!

Office work is a daily chore for the vast majority of people. Some of you spend nearly forty hours a week sitting in front of a computer! Not to mention the hours spent sitting in a car or public transport and then watching TV at home! Today, we put our bodies through a lot of stress every day: the prolonged sitting posture!

For now, it is still unrealistic to think that this situation could change in the short term. However, researchers have begun to focus on the subject, workstations while walking on a treadmill are beginning to be studied! Until that day, here are some tips to minimize the adverse effects of prolonged sitting on your spine:

1. Check your work ergonomics!
The golden rules of office ergonomics are angles: ankles, knees, hips, elbows should all be at 90 degrees. The head, however, should not be! Try to keep your head above your shoulders and do not get closer to the screen. The wrist position is a little more complex, and the general rule is 180 degrees but the mouse and support for the wrist are two important details! If you have any doubts about the ergonomics of your office or if you are uncomfortable when you work, it is essential to have it checked! You spend most of your day in this space, it has a huge role to play in spinal health!

2. Take breaks!
Give your body a rest at least once every hour. Take the time to stretch during your coffee break! Some good rotations of the neck and shoulders will help to maintain your flexibility. The best way to remember these breaks is to create a “pop-up” on your computer. This will ensure you do not spill over into your work and then realize that you’ve just spent three hours sitting and are completely stiff!

3. Do exercises!
Even with outstanding office ergonomics, the human body has not evolved to endure hours and hours of sitting. This position will weaken all the extensor muscles, increase joint stiffness and worsen postural problems. So here are some specific exercises that will help you counter these adverse effects. In addition, you can do them at the office!
• Lowering the shoulders: Start sitting on your office chair and make sure it can not roll in any direction. Put both hands on the chair on either side of your pelvis. Then, lift your buttocks and move forward so that your buttocks are hovering just in front of your chair. Without bending your elbows, push with your shoulders and shoulder blades to lift yourself up 1 or 2 inches. You will feel your shoulder blades and lower trapezius working.

shoulder shrugs

• Retracting shoulder blades: Stand with your back to the wall, arms along your body, elbows against the wall. Then bring your shoulder blades together, stick your chest out and push your arms into the wall. You should feel the muscles between your shoulder blades work. This exercise can be done in several angles, arms along the body, arms at 90 degrees, arms overhead. The higher the arms, the higher the level of difficulty.

• Posterior translation of the head: This exercise was created especially to compensate for the forward position of the head during computer work. You can do this exercise with your back against the wall, with something soft behind your head (like a folded jacket), sitting in the car with your head against the headrest or sitting in your office chair if it is high enough to have your head supported. Tuck your chin slightly toward your chest and push with your head back into the chair. You will feel the muscles at the back of your neck working.


All these exercises should be done with care! Start slowly, each movement should take about three seconds and be repeated a dozen times to start. You can, over time, increase the repetitions as your muscles strengthen. Also, if you do not feel your muscles working in the right place (mentioned above) or you feel pain, stop! A health care professional can help you correct the problem.

4. Be active!
When you’re not at work, do everything you can to create movement in your life! We only have two days a week to try to eliminate the stress accumulated during the previous five days. So please, use them wisely; be active!

5. Do not let the problems accumulate!
If you have pain or postural problems, do not wait long to see your chiropractor. It is much easier to correct a problem of short duration than to resolve a chronic problem! The famous motto is better safe than sorry!

Hoping that you will be able to integrate all these tips in your daily life! Your body will thank you!