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Five Physical Problems You Have From Sitting Still All Day, Solved

Many of you are obviously working from home, sitting all day. Sitting hunched over a computer and staring at screens all day can also wreak havoc on the body.

Even the best sitting posture, if sustained for long periods of time, can produce stresses and strains on our bodies that ultimately result in pain.

“The issue that we’re really up against is that we’re not made to sit—certainly not for extended periods of time”

The good news is that, along with doing some simple stretches and making ergonomic adjustments to your work environment can significantly reduce the daily discomfort most desk workers deal with.

So, 5 common physical problems…

Desk Job Danger #1:
Lower Back Pain

So what exactly is going on back there? Slumping back in your desk chair or slouching forward means your spine is out of alignment. That puts a strain on the ligaments and muscles in your back.

How to Quickly Relieve Tension: Sitting pelvic tilt

Sit upright in a chair with your legs hips width apart.  Slowly tilt your pelvis backwards, by rounding your lower back, and sitting through your tail bone.  Next, tilt your pelvis forwards, arching your lower back, lifting your head and chest up and sitting through your seat bones.  Keep your shoulders and upper back still during these movements. Repeat x10

The Long-Term Fix

DSE assessment along with simple core exercises.

Desk Job Danger #2:
Wrist Strain

A combination of overuse and how you’re positioning your wrists at your keyboard are to blame.

“Whenever you operate a keyboard or mouse, the tendons in your wrists go back and forth,”

“These tendons are parallel to each other, so they glide back and forth and create friction, is a micro trauma. That repetitive motion causes fatigue, and the tendons may become inflamed.”

How to Quickly Relieve Tension; Wrist stretches

Sit upright in a chair. Bring your palms together in front of you and close to your chest.  Gradually lower your hands, keeping the palms of your hands together.  Hold this position in a stretch for 10 seconds x5.

Extend your arm straight out in front of you with your palm face down, and drop your hand towards the floor.
With your other hand, apply a gentle pressure to the back of your wrist and hold.  You should feel this stretch down the back of your forearm. Hold for 10 seconds x5

The Long-Term Fix

DSE assessment and take occasional breaks over the course of the day.

Desk Job Danger #3:
Neck and Shoulder Pain

You never realize just how much you move your neck and shoulders until they’re injured—and then you feel every single shift and twist.

These aches and pains may come from placing your keyboard or computer monitor too far away on your desk, causing you to jut your neck and shoulders forward, throwing them out of alignment with the spine and straining the muscles and soft tissue.

How to Quickly Relieve Tension:
Neck retraction (chin tuck) and side bends

Start in a seated position with your shoulders relaxed. Look straight forward. Tuck your chin in, as to resemble a double chin, hold this position. Hold for 5 seconds x10.

Start in a seated position.  Place the hand on the symptomatic side under your chair, take your other hand and place it on your head.

Tilt your ear directly down towards your shoulder and hold this position.  You should feel a stretch down the side of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds x5

The Long-Term Fix

DSE assessment. Take occasional breaks from sitting

Desk Job Danger #4:
Eye Strain

Staring at your computer for hours at a time can cause eye fatigue, as can having a computer monitor that’s too far away (making your eyes strain to read the small print) or too close (making your eyes work harder to focus). People also tend to blink less often while staring at their computer, which leads to dry eyes and fatigue.

How to Quickly Relieve Tension

Every 20 to 30 minutes, look at something off in the distance, such as a window across the length of the office, for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.

Desk Job Danger #5:
Tight Hips

Sitting for long periods shortens your hip flexors, a group of muscles located at the front of your hips, causing pain. Tight hip flexors also contribute to lower back soreness, another common complaint.

How to Quickly Relieve Tension: Hip flexor stretch

  • Start in a standing position.  Move your affected leg one pace backwards.  Hold on to a support if you feel you need it.  Keeping your feet in this position, drive your hips forward and lift up your chest.  It is OK for the back knee to bend a little and for your heel to come up off the floor.  You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
  • Hold this position and then return to the starting position and then relax. Hold 20 seconds x3 each side.

The Long-Term Fix

  • Stand up from your desk at regular intervals to give your muscles a break and increase circulation. “In a perfect world, get up from your desk every 20 to 30 minutes,”
  • Try using a free app, such as Stand Up! or Break Reminder, that lets you set a recurring timer to remind you to get up at certain intervals over the course of the day.

Of course, whenever you’re in pain, you should consult your physiotherapist so we can get a handle on any underlying problems or treatment concerns.

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