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Exercises you can Do at your Desk to Improve your Posture

It’s common knowledge by now that sitting at a desk all day can be harmful for our posture. For a lot of us, our day jobs involve being hunched over a computer or laptop, and we’re already feeling the negative impacts that can have on our general wellbeing and back health. Bad posture at your desk can result in the following:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Neck pain
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Back pain (upper, mid and lower)

Slouching and leaning over our desks make bad posture an easy (but damaging) habit to get into. Addressing your bad posture might seem like a lot of effort, but there lots of easy exercises you can do to take the pressure off and relieve some of that tension, and in-turn improve your posture too!

5 easy things you can do at your desk to improve posture

Tip 1: Keep your ears in-line with your shoulders

If you find yourself craning your neck forwards to see your computer screen, then your posture is way off and you need to try and start adjusting it. Your ears should always be inline with your shoulders, and often, this little adjustment can have a knock on effect to the rest of your posture too. So it’s a good exercise to ensure you keep this in check throughout the day.

Tip 2: Every hour, consciously reset your posture

It’s a good idea to set yourself a phone reminder every hour to reset your posture. Even if you start the day with best intentions, sat in your ideal body posture, in 45 minutes you might have already slipped out of it into bad habits. When your posture reminder goes off, bring your head back so it’s level with your shoulders, pull your shoulders back, push your chest out, straighten your spine and uncross your legs.

Tip 3: Head rolls

A head roll is a basic exercise where you let your head roll slowly from one shoulder to the other. The key is to do this slowly and gently, and to take deep, long breaths. When done right it can help relieve tension in your neck and shoulders, which gives way to a better and more relaxed posture.

Tip 4: Shoulder shrugs

Shoulder shrugs are another way to encourage your body to release tension and relax. Shoulder shrugs involve revolving your shoulders in circles – raising them up to your ears and then back down again. A lot of people who work with computers carry a lot of tension in their shoulders, so this can be a key exercising to unlocking better posture and feeling more flexible and relaxed.

Tip 5: Fingertips to toes stretch

A few times a day it’s good to engage your whole body in an all-over stretch. The fingertips to toes stretch involves stretching out as long as you can and focussing on engaging the whole body and all your muscles in the stretching motion. You can do this in your seat, by reaching up and back with your arms, and reaching forwards and up with your legs under the desk. Use this as a chance to reset your posture afterwards too.

Chiropractic and Sciatica: What Can Help?

For those suffering with Sciatica, even the smallest tasks can be painful and difficult to complete. Sciatica is a common pain, which affects the sciatic nerve. This is a crucial nerve running from your lower back, down each leg. When you have Sciatica, the pain can be in either leg (or both) and can be felt in the hip area, buttocks, or feet too.

Common symptoms of Sciatica

Different people feel sciatic pain in different ways, and it affects people in different places too. Because the sciatic nerve stretches across such a large area of your body, people can experience flare-ups and pain across a wide variety of areas.

Some of these include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sharp / stabbing pain in hips or legs
  • Sharp pain in buttocks and lower hips
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • ‘Pins and needles’ sensation in the leg or buttocks
  • Weakness in legs
  • Numbness in legs or feet
  • Shooting pain from buttocks down the legs
  • Constant sharp pain in hips
  • Pain when walking or sitting

For the majority of people, Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body, however it can affect both sides in bad cases. It depends on where the sciatic nerve has been affected.

How can a Chiropractor help?

Because Sciatica can vary so much from person to person, a personalised approach to healing needs to be taken, and this is something that can be done by chiropractic care. Unfortunately medication will not get rid of the Sciatica and usually doctors will only be able to prescribe pain relief or medication for inflammation (which can help manage the symptoms, but will not get rid of the issue).

A Chiropractor will work with you to understand the cause of the Sciatica, and will use a variety of methods to start addressing the issue and bring balance back to the body. Using a Chiropractor to help your Sciatica can help get rid of the pain quicker, and can help prevent it from occurring again in the future.

Sciatica Treatments Used by Chiropractors:

Ice/Cold Therapy: This can help by reducing the inflammation of the affected area and can help control the nerve pain. It reduces inflammation and helps control sciatic pain.

Ultrasound: This is a gentle treatment and works by generating sound waves that penetrate into the affected bodily tissues. It can help to increase circulation and reduce any spasming of the muscles. It also helps reduce cramps, swelling, stiffness and pain too (which can be a main part of the discomfort felt when suffering with Sciatica).

Adjustments (Spinal Manipulations): Spinal adjustments are what you expect to experience when you visit a Chiropractor, and it is certainly something that can aid Sciatica recovery. The Chiropractor can help restore flexibility and movement to the lower part of the body. This helps to restore normal vertebral movement in the spine, which can in turn reduce nerve irritation and pain.

Recommend home exercises: As part of your chiropractic treatment for sciatica, your chiropractor will likely recommend a few exercises and stretch to maintain at home. These will be tailored to you, and where you pain is originating from, and they can help build muscle strength and flexibility to prevent future cases of Sciatica arising.

Should you wait before seeing a Chiropractor?

Back pain can often be the result of an accident or injury (such as a strain or a sprain) but it can also pop up unexpectedly or gradually over time too. Whatever the cause for your developing back pain, it often occurs because something is off in the way your core muscles, spinal discs, spinal joints and nerve endings work together or move. It could be strain, inflammation or injury – but if the discomfort is causing you pain, and is affecting your day to day routine, you shouldn’t wait before seeking chiropractic treatment.

Having back pain can be a frightening and unnerving experience, and something you should never overlook. Many people simply brush off their discomfort and think that ‘rest and time’ is recipe enough to see the improvements they want. But doing nothing can in some cases make things worse, as you may end up increasing the strain, or worsening the injury.

Here are some types of back pain to look out for, when we would recommend chiropractic care. While you may think you need to simply strengthen your core or maintain good posture, it’s always best to seek advice and treatment from a professional.

You back pain began because of trauma or injury

If you’re experiencing back pain because of an accident or trauma, it may be something that needs to be worked on slowly by a Chiropractor. Often, in situations like this, something may have been knocked or put out of place, so a Chiropractor can help identify what happened, and begin treating back pain.

The back pain has been consistent and won’t go away

Any back pain that has been constant for more than a week or so, should be looked at by a Chiropractor. Sometimes we can experience slight back ache after exerting ourselves (trying a new exercise or moving house for example) but temporary soreness should usually ease up after a week or so. Constant pain that is frequent throughout the day is a sign that something is wrong.

The back pain is constant and seems to be getting worse

We often mistake pain for muscle ache. And whilst the natural function of our body is to slowly improve muscle issues over time (where rest and stretching can aid in recovery), if the pain is constant it may not be a muscle related issue.

If you feel the backache getting worse instead of getting better, it may not be muscle pain, it may be something else. If time is making the pain increase – you need to see a professional Chiropractor.

You feel back pain in resting positions

If you’re feeling pain when in resting positions (such as sitting or laying down) it can be a sign that something is wrong. It is also hard for us to heal properly if we’re missing sleep or losing out on rest because it’s difficult to get comfortable. A Chiropractor can help advise on this, so you can recover quicker.

You feel off balance and struggle with good posture

Any issues with balance and poor posture could cause you safety worries in all areas of your life. If standing straight or walking slowly is too painful or too difficult (because of loss of balance and a bad posture) then you need to resolve the issues quickly.

Improving your posture and the way you hold your body would be a good place to start, but people with back pain should always seek professional help from a Chiropractor.

How to Correct your Posture

If you find yourself experiencing back pain or dull aches, it could be your back posture that needs correcting and adjusting. Good posture is the key to good back health, and yet so many of us fall short of what’s recommended. You might also suffer from poor posture for other reasons, such as hunching your back whilst driving. Below are some tips to help you improve and correct your posture:

See a Chiropractor

Of course, one of the most effective things you can do to improve your posture is to see a chiropractor. It’s a chiropractors job to recognise any issues in your posture and also identify any reasons why these problems may have occurred over time. They can recommend exercises and stretches for you to carry forward at home, as well as inspecting and analysing your back and seeing where and what is most affected.

Make time for stretching and meditation

In the morning or evening, make time for stretching or meditation – two things that can slowly help correct posture. These activities can help you warm up your muscles, become more flexible, and gain more confidence in the way your body moves. The more supple and flexible your body is, the more you’ll be able to improve your posture.

Recognise when you’re slouching, and correct yourself

One of the biggest indicators of bad posture, is slouching. Most people slouch all the time, throughout the day, and it’s an easy habit to fall into. If you take a look around, you’ll probably see people slouching as they walk, or people slouching over their phone, or even slouching into their seat (for example on a train or in the car).

A good trick is to recognise when you slouch the most, and make a conscious effort to correct yourself. When you’re on your phone, hold it to eye level, so you don’t need to bend to look at it. When you’re walking stand up straight, or when you’re sitting straighten your back and sit upright. Simple corrections like this can make a big difference.

Sleep comfortably

You may find yourself slouching or having bad posture because your body is compensating for a bad night’s sleep. If you wake up with back ache, it’s easy to slouch or adjust your posture to compensate for the pain. Instead, try and work out what is preventing you from sleeping peacefully, and aim to resolve it. You may need a softer mattress, or a firmer one, or maybe more supportive pillows for your neck.

Work from a better position

You spend most of your day at work, so correcting your posture during working hours is really important, especially if you want to see an overall improvement. Posture isn’t just something to take into account when stood up – posture is important when sat down too. A quick solution, is to purchase simple posture

When do you need an MRI?

An MRI scan is used across all medical professions to find out what is going on inside the body, much in the same way as a X-ray or ultrasound. Each different type of imaging is a form of investigation and is suitable for different issues and diagnoses.  For example, X-rays are often used to look for bone fractures and ultrasound is commonly used during pregnancy for checking the growth of the baby. An MRI is often used by chiropractors because it shows soft tissues as well as bones.

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Why Should you see a Chiropractor?

If you’ve never been to a chiropractor before, you may not see why it is necessary. Anybody can improve their body with chiropractic care, whether you’re a patient with disabling back pain or an athlete trying to enhance performance. You also don’t need to experience ongoing back or neck pain to visit a chiropractor, which is a common misconception.

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