Is Your Work Causing You Pain?

February 18, 2021 | Lifestyle, Wellness

Construction workers, professional athletes and those that perform hard labour aren’t the only ones who get aches and pains from their jobs. Every industry and work environment is susceptible to them, including office spaces and particularly those where people work from home. Repetitive motion, poor posture, and staying in the same position for an extended period of time can lead to or exacerbate musculoskeletal disorders. Maintaining one position while performing repetitive motions is the norm for desk jobs – and it’s especially problematic if you are working at home in a less-than-ideal position. Stretching may be helpful!

The habits we develop at our desk can contribute to discomfort and health issues, including:

  • neck and shoulder pain
  • headaches
  • stress
  • lower back pain
  • carpal tunnel

 

Stretching increases flexibility, improves posture, and reduces physical and mental stress. Regular stretching during the workday can significantly lessen musculoskeletal pain. Rest breaks can minimize discomfort without disrupting productivity.

 

Moving or stretching is a habit that can be developed. For starters, you can set a timer to remind yourself to take a short walk or stretch.There are even stretches you can do at your desk if you’re pressed for time. Below you will find examples of stretches you can do to work out those work-related aches and pains. 

 

Throughout the stretching exercises, remember to breathe normally and never hold your breath. With each stretching session, your flexibility may improve but never push yourself beyond your comfort level.

 

triceps stretching

Tricep Stretching

  • Raise your right arm toward the ceiling and bend your elbow back
  • Reach your left shoulder with your right hand.
  • Use your left hand and pull your right elbow toward your head.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the left side.

stretching

Overhead Stretching

  • Extend your right arm straight up.
  • Gently reach to the opposite side so that your right hand crosses the midline of your body.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the left side.

upward stretching

Upward Extension

  • With your arms extended, clasp your hands together above the head with palms facing up.
  • Push your arms up, stretching upward.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Chest Stretching

  • Sit forward at the edge of your chair
  • With your arms extended behind you, clasp hands behind your back.
  • Push the chest outward, and raise your chin.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

trap stretching

Trapezius Stretching

  • Gently pull your head toward each shoulder until a light stretch is felt.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Alternate once on each side.

wrist and hand stretching

Wrist and Hands Stretching

  • Extend your arm in front of you
  • With the opposite hand, reach for your fingers and extend your wrist until a light stretch is felt
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side

Other ways to get moving

All of these stretches are a good habit to do at least 2 times a day. There are several things you can add to your routine to keep you from sitting all day, and incorporate more movement. Some of these tips were covered in a recent blog post you can find here.   

 

If you will be working from home for a while longer, invest in some ergonomic furniture, and make sure your workspace is working well for you with a complimentary remote ergonomic assessment. You can also download the free Canadian Chiropractic Association app Straighten up Canada – They even provide no-sweat exercise videos, and tips to improve your posture.

 

Another good habit is to keep up with your regular appointments with your musculoskeletal experts.  Give us a call to book an appointment at our Byward or Glebe locations with our registered massage therapists, physiotherapists, or chiropractors. They’ll help you move better and take some of the stress off of your hardworking shoulders.