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Occupation Pain Management


Desks, chairs and work stations tend to be designed for the average person. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an average person and most offices tend to have desks that are the wrong height with chairs that don't go up high enough or won't go down low enough.

The theoretical ideal is to sit with all the peripheral joints at 90 degrees, with the forearms gently resting on the top of the desk. However quite a lot of the difficulties of desks results from poor advice or partial information with the intention of selling expensive chairs that don't really address the problem.

The older generation were told that slouching was a crime and that a bolt upright posture was the only solution for a fulfilled and hard-working existence.


Unfortunately this advice misses the point on several levels. The basic problem is not really the desk posture as such but the sheer length of time a particular posture is used. I am always amazed when patients tell me they sit at a desk for several hours without any attempt to move around.

Basically slouching can be useful as it allows for spinal muscles to become relaxed and for a different loading pattern to be used in the spine for a while, a bolt upright posture is good as it doesn't stretch or strain the muscles so much and allows the abdominal and shoulder muscles to stretch.

However, the real solution to this is to move around as much a possible. Ideally get up and have a walk around every 15 minutes or so. It doesn't have to be for very long just enough to disrupt the pattern of habitual posture. Set your phone to ring at a suitable interval (15 minutes perhaps?) this site has an app for that purpose too- see the screamsaver.

There is also a simple breathing exercise that will help reduce the amount of tension in the back and shoulders which can be done while sitting at your desk. The eventual aim of this is to allow you to relax muscles that become tense during desk work and to become aware of when they are getting tense. Ask Edward Wilmot for details.







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