PAIN IN THE NECK

Logi ng, fish­ing, ice road truck­ing… those are dan­ger­ous pro­fes­sions. But to­day , even your mild -man­nered of­fice job ca n kil you . It’s the age of killer de sks, and you could be next!

Alberta Venture - - The Briefing -

It’s not a myth: hu­mans re­ally aren’t meant to sit all day. Be­ing desk-bound is like smok­ing: ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, it can be just as deadly, and, for life­long of­fice work­ers, just as dif­fi­cult to quit. Sunny Ch­hokar, phys­io­ther­a­pist at Ev­i­dence Sport and Spine in Cal­gary, sees these health im­pacts first-hand and treats in­juries caused by a seden­tary lifestyle. Here, he shares some tips on how a lit­tle straight­en­ing out can go a long way. WATCH YOUR BACK

Ch­hokar says the most com­mon com­plaint from desk work­ers is a sore back and neck – all be­cause of the way we sit. In our ­nat­u­ral state, our spines are curved in a sub­tle S-shape. When we sit, our back takes one of two po­si­tions: a C-shape, more com­monly known as slouch­ing, or a flat back with no curve, the re­sult of over­com­pen­sat­ing. Most of us find it dif­fi­cult to hold per­fect pos­ture and we slump down without much thought. This stretches lig­a­ments and mus­cles in the lower back and causes the head to shift for- ward, put­ting ex­tra stress on the neck. In­jury can be grad­ual, as your back be­comes stiffer and you lose some range of mo­tion by the end of each work­day. Or it can be sud­den, like if you ex­ert your­self without giv­ing your body time to adapt. That’s why sim­ply lift­ing a heavy box can mean a slipped disk.

PER­FECT POS­TURE

To get that ideal S-shape, make your seat work for you: in­vest in an er­gonomic of­fice chair or use a lum­bar roll. “Find what the sweet spot is,” Ch­hokar says. “It should feel re­ally com­fort­able and will keep you from fall­ing into a slouched po­si­tion be­cause you are be­ing held by the chair.” Next, put a re­minder on your phone to get up and take a walk for 30 sec­onds ev­ery hour or two. “It will pro­long your body’s abil­ity to work a desk job,” he adds.

CHRONIC PAIN

Our bod­ies gen­er­ally need about 90 days to fully re­cover from an in­jury. Any­thing past that and you’re in chronic pain ter­ri­tory. Of­ten, chronic pain doesn’t man­i­fest in ob­vi­ous, phys­i­cal symp­toms and there­fore can be dif­fi­cult to treat. “The last thing [an em­ployee] needs to hear is, ‘It’s all in your head,’” Ch­hokar says. For work­places to ac­com­mo­date em­ploy­ees grap­pling with chronic pain, he says sim­ple modifications can go a long way, like al­low­ing rest breaks, mod­i­fied hours and re­duc­ing over­all stress in the of­fice. “If you add more stress to chronic pain, be it phys­i­cal or emo­tional, that com­pounds to it.”

Put a re­minder on your phone to get up and take a walk for 30 sec­onds ev­ery hour or two

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