Your Chair Is Killing You!

You’re injuring yourself at work — daily. But I have an office job, you think; my workplace is altogether too safe. Actually, that’s the problem. Sitting at a desk all day, and the repetitive motions that accompany that sitting, cause microtrauma in our bodies. New studies are beginning to reveal that extended periods of sitting and sedentary behavior have a significant
negative effect on our well-being — and an even greater impact on our overall health than our diets.


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These studies found that even those who exercise regularly, but still spend the majority of their days in a sitting position, are significantly more likely to die sooner than those who don’t sit for as long. Health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity were also linked to long hours spent on one’s backside. Risks associated with cardiovascular diseases, as well as various forms of cancer, were not as obvious but were still enough to make note of.

Fortunately, all is not lost if you’re exiled to a desk for the majority of your day. Proper work station ergonomics can mitigate these negative effects by keeping your body in a neutralposture. This allows your blood to flow throughout your body freely, your joints to functionproperty, and your body to keep up with the underlying demands of an office job.

So how do you create an ergonomic setup at your desk? Start at the top. First, assume aneutral posture with your head above your shoulders and your shoulders above your hips. Then adjust your chair, keyboard, mouse, and screen to fit that posture.

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You can also try doing some “desk yoga” or other types of stretches to stave off any stiffness. Dr James wrote a great blog with a video detailing his top Physical Therapy stretches to perform at your desk for back pain.  Or keep a “sit-log” to track the amount of time you spend stationary each day. Try cutting that number by a few minutes every day by taking frequent breaks to move and stretch your body!

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Dr. Asha Koshy is a Physical Therapist and co-owner of Complete Physical Rehabilitation in Jersey City and Elizabeth, NJ.

She is a McKenzie certified back pain Physical Therapist specialist, an LSVT BIG certified specialist for Parkinson’s Disease, and also specializes in treating Vestibular conditions relating to vertigo, dizziness, and other balance disorders.

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