Your Computer Is Hurting You

by Admin on November 29, 2010

The average person that comes in to see me is not an athlete, does not lift heavy objects, and cannot, for the life of them, understand why they are in so much pain. Truth is that you are more likely to suffer from that cushy desk job than from anything else.

Simply sitting in front of a computer for hours on end day after day slowly but surely does some serious damage to the body.  Here is how:

Headaches

Look at the last picture of the evolution of posture.  Notice how forward the person’s head is; how his neck sort of sticks out; and how he seems to be reaching further towards the screen.  That head position that everyone uses today puts a huge load of stress on those teeny tiny suboccipital muscles that lie at the base of the skull.  These suboccipital muscles when they are irritated for too long respond by sending headache signals to the temples, the side of the head, the base of the skull.  It can almost feel like someone tightening a band around your head.  Ouch!

Solution:

  1. Learn how to sit properly using basic ergonomic principles
  2. Keep your chin tucked in and stop inching your head toward the screen.  Perhaps it’s time to get a new glasses prescription or get a larger screen.

Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades

Notice how stretched forward his shoulders are?  How they kind of hunch forward and slouch?  This position keeps your chest muscles in a shortened, tight position, while stretching out the muscles in your upper back.  Yes, those rhomboid and trapezius muscles are being forced to work in a weakened, stretched out position.  They are also fighting a losing battle against tight, strong chest muscles.  The result is that the muscles between your shoulder blades will feel achy all the time.

Solution:

  1. Stretch out your chest muscles, or try these chest stretches
  2. Strengthen your Upper Back Muscles with lat pulldowns, use a rowing machine, do any kind of lats workout

Lower Back Pain

Notice how the lower back is missing any kind of natural arch in this position?  See how it rounds forward?  This is reversing the natural lordotic curve of the lower back and puts extra pressure on the nerve and blood supply in the lower back.  Basically, pressure is being put on your discs (herniated disc, anyone?), nerves are starting to be pinched, and your lower back is starting to feel achy all over.

Solution:

  1. Sit with your hips against the back of the seat and get a lumbar support

Hip Pain

All that constant sitting can be a pain in the butt.  The constant pressure compresses nerves and blood vessels.  It acts like a choke hold, preventing blood from flowing freely to the gluteal muscles.  A reduced blood supply means less nutrients and oxygen being pumped into your hip and leg muscles.  It also means that waste products are not being removed very effectively from your hips.

Solution:

  1. Stretch out your hip muscles
  2. Learn these simple sitting exercises

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