A car was built to be driven, and if you don’t drive it for a long time it will break down. Your body is not much different. Specifically, your musculoskeletal system was built to move and when it doesn’t it will begin to break down. Sitting is not the new smoking, we know that chairs only contain about a third of the carcinogens and toxins a typical office chair does, but simply sitting for 6 to 8 hours a day is like driving a Ferrari only through school zones. Your body is capable of so much more and sitting for extended periods is like narrowing the lanes for your Ferrari. Seemingly little mishaps in your day will cause huge dents in the frame. Before my metaphor gets any more muddled let me give you some ways to help.

Business woman with neck pain sitting at computer

1) Are your shoulders are sneaking up to your ears?

The subtle migration of your shoulders northward is not because summer is coming to an end. This may feel normal to most, but it is a sign you’re body is working sub-optimally. It is perfectly fine to shrug your shoulders in response to a tough question, but the problem comes when your shoulder shrug becomes the norm. It’s perfectly fine for your blood pressure to increase through a workout, but when that blood pressure becomes the standard, your heart will take issue. So stand up and shake it your shoulders a bit to relax. 

2) Do you squint your eyes and lean into the computer screen?

The complexity of the eye cannot be overstated, yet we primarily use it to interpret data on a flat screen that is about a foot away from us. While TVs and movie screens have improved exponentially, it pales in comparison to whats just outside your window. The sunlight outside is riddled with vitamin D, a vital nutrient that plays a part in a number of hormonal processes. So step outside for a couple minutes and give your eyes a break. 

3) The low back shuffle. 

It is very true that we are often dealt a horrible chair at our work station, but let’s not let that get in the way of keeping our spine healthy. If you find yourself shuffling around, or constantly adjusting in your chair it’s probably time to get up and move a bit. The wrath of the office chair to the low back is a slow takeover with a tricky tactic, it slowly turns the hips off. The hips are a prime mover while the muscles of the back are primarily for stabilizing, but as we sit and swivel all day we train our back to do all the moving thereby negating the hips. Taking breaks to walk are a huge benefit to the body. 

4) Are you getting cold feet?

A little known secret function of your muscles is that they are actually always working. If you’ve ever gotten a charlie horse in the middle of the night you’ll certainly know what I mean. Your muscles are constantly pumping blood along with many other nutrients through your body. They handle this task with even more efficiency as you move and provide even better contractile forces. So when you have been sitting to long and notice your toes tingle, or feet get cold, its a good sign its time to move. 

5) Do you squeeze/massage/shake/pop your hand and fingers? 

This is just a shade of the previous two points. Your hands and fingers are typically labeled as fine or skilled movers where the shoulder and elbow are more prime movers. By typing a review for War and Peace you are beginning to condition the opposite. Making your hands the prime (more common) movers and your elbow and shoulders stabilizing secondary muscles. This is not of course to say that typing is bad, but limiting your arms to such a task and not allowing a wider spectrum of movement can become an issue.

Some of the these signs become so normal to us we do not notice them anymore. If a light on your dashboard flickers red and within the day you’re at the mechanic, why do we wait so long for something as precious as our body? There are innumerable ways your body communicates with you all day long, and some signals are more important than others. If you have tried some simple fixes and your body has not responded positively please seek the care of a medical professional. You’ll often be surprised out simple the fix is. 

Dr. John Cybulski works for Airrosti located in the Austin Family Medicine Associates Clinic. All Airrosti providers adhere to a disciplined approach that focuses on quality and results. We educate you and give you guidance you can use at home to speed your recovery. Because of our targeted approach, most patients report immediate relief after the first visit, with full resolution after an average of three appointments. 

Schedule (http://www.airrosti.com/schedule-an-appointment/) today!