Neck & shoulder tension, muscle tension headaches,
tendonitis, lower back stiffness and eye strain are all garden variety issues we see at Heart & Hands. We see a diverse group of people from high performance athletes to weekend warriors to everything in between, BUT the most common affliction we see is the condition of the desk jockey. Hours upon hours of sitting on your butt, sedentary, staring into a glaring screen, your hand glued to a mouse will do wonders for your discomfort…
Our bodies can be amazingly resilient and tolerant to our daily abuses, but only up to a limit. Our bodies were made to move and do not adapt well to repetitive tasks – like sitting for hours, glued to the computer.
We’re all guilty of that, myself included. I once remembered reading on a patient history form, “Shoulder pain”, what makes it better, “yoga”, what makes it worse, “Photoshop”.
Here at the clinic, we strive to be supportive and constructive. We understand that computers to some are an essential part of their profession and will provide patients with advice on how to avoid or rehabilitate repetitive strain injuries. This includes discussing a treatment plan so we can help you keep doing what you do.
Here are a few important principles:
- Warm-up & stretch – you may not be working up a sweat,
but consider working at the computer for long periods like exercise. It puts strain on your body.
- Ergonomics, ergonomic, ergonomics! – ensure your work station is comfortable. Are you supported while sitting? Do your feet touch the floor in you chair? Are you straining to use your mouse, keyboard or seeing your screen?
- Once an hour, get up & move – shake out your body and give things a rest once an hour to prevent muscle spasm and stiffness. Ideal time for a bathroom break.
- Mix it up! – if you work on a laptop, you have the option of picking up and moving your work station – desk, standing at kitchen counter, coffee table, etc. Good to switch it up and for a change of scenery.
- Fuel up – stay hydrated (no, coffee doesn’t count!!) and remember to eat, opting for snacks like nuts and fresh fruit. Dehydration and dips in blood sugar can worsen muscle pain and increase your chances of headaches.
- Your eyes have feelings too – during your once an hour break, take 2 minutes to shut your eyes and gently roll your eyes up-down-side-to-side. Prevent eyestrain and headaches.
Regular poke sessions are ideal for prevention, maintenance and rehabilitation from repetitive strain injuries. Acupuncture works on physical, mental-emotional and energetic levels. It helps to gently and indirectly relax muscles, improve posture as well as allowing your body to decompress from daily wear and tear of workplace stress. We recommend the following treatment frequency:
- Computer use 10-20 hrs/week – 1x week if acute problems, then down to 1x every 2-3 weeks for maintenance.
- 20-30 hrs/week or pre-existing injuries – 2x week until condition improves, then down to 1x every 1-2 weeks for maintenance.
- Desk jockey +30 hrs/week – 2-3x week if acute problems, then down to 1x week depending on workload and condition.
- General maintenance – 1-2x a month is ideal for whatever life serves you. Most of us have busy, complicated lives, in which regular self-care is a must!
Computers have become an important part of our daily schedules and with more and more individuals relying on computers to make a living (us included!), we’d like to make it possible for you to work comfortably, safely and productively!