Repetitive Stress Injuries are a reality for many modern workers
If you are someone who works hours in front of a computer per day, take a second to appreciate all the hours you have spent doing what you do! When you add it up, you see that every day you perform the same task and this is the basis of repetitive injury: starting from the fingers and hands, we can trace a clear path back through the forearms to the shoulders, neck and head and then down the spinal column to the lower back where injuries to muscles and joints often occur.
This map becomes more torturous if we add consistently poor posture into the mix.
It's no wonder that we treat many people whose bodies are reeling from the effects of a computer-reliant job.
Prevention takes dedication
We can treat your body for the ill-effects of a job that brings on repetitive micro-traumas, but it is up to you to carry out the task of prevention at work. Here are a few simple ways you can stay strong against the incursion of RSI:
- Break regularly. Set a timer and stand up for even 10 seconds every half hour. Once an hour, try to put your body through a quick set of stretches. The apple watch has this feature turned on by default. The apple watch prompts you to stand up after it detects prolonged sitting.
- Do everything you can to control and perfect your ergonomic setup. Use what materials you have; for example, a rolled-up jacket works in place of a lumbar-specific pillow.
- Develop muscles that make holding good posture easier.
- Practice good technique when typing: for example, let your hands float above the keyboard.
At our office, we pledge to you that we will find and address the cause rather than treat the symptom of your pain. We treat RSI with a combination of chiropractic adjustment, massage, and a focus on ergonomics and postural adjustment. Let's roll back to the years when you could work for hours without the added stress of RSI; call our office to schedule an appointment today!
Deep breathing is one of the most powerful ways you can influence relaxation.
When the stresses of the moment lead you to feel spun out, it is important to take a little time to breathe. In this way, you can harness the power of oxygen to refresh your body and mind and reset your perspective. Diaphragmatic breathing, better known as deep breathing, is the kind when you breathe in through the nose, contracting the diaphragm, and fill your lungs with air. You will know you have taken a deep breath when the abdomen expands rather than the chest.
Combine deep breathing with some simple muscle action to relieve tension throughout the body.
- Close your eyes and begin a pattern of deep breathing, as explained above.
- On the inhale, contract a muscle group and hold for up to 5 seconds.
- On the exhale, release the muscles
- Work your way down from shoulders to toes, one muscle group at a time.
Optimize your breathing with chiropractic
Breathing is a complex system that we tend to unlearn as get older. For example, it is an action that affects and is affected by posture. We want to help you breathe better and this begins with technique! Subluxation in the cervical region can affect the phrenic nerve which powers the diaphragm, thereby affecting breathing. Let's work together to get your breathing back on track to fight stress and feel better!
Regardless of age or physical condition, everyone is prone to a flare of back pain. A person who has never experienced even a twinge of pain or stiffness may wake up one day to find that they slept awkwardly and their neck is now cricked. For people at all points on the spectrum between one-time pain and chronic conditions, it is important to know how to use your resources to allay pain so that it doesn't sideline you completely.
When it comes to managing back pain in the moment, two of your best resources are ice and heat. And while this may sound like overstated conventional wisdom, it is important to know how to actually apply ice and heat, and why you are doing it. Some people prefer one or the other, but we find that they are especially effective, and actually compliment each other, when alternated in this order:
- Ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. When you apply ice to an injurious region, the blood vessels narrow in a process known as vasoconstriction, your muscles flex and inflammation is immediately reduced. Ice, in the form of a pack, a frozen damp towel, or a bag of frozen peas, should be applied to the injurious region for 10-15 minutes at a time, up to three times a day.
- Heat is used to relax the muscles and stimulate the healing process. The opposite of vasoconstriction, heat catalyzes vasodilation in which the blood vessels open wide, allowing nutrients and oxygen that are necessary for healing to flood the region. Most heat is preferable to dry heat, and you can apply it for up to 20 minutes at a time to achieve pain relief.
When it comes to managing your pain, knowledge is power. We help people find simple and natural ways to encourage a healthier, happier life. If you are suffering from chronic pain, it may be time to make the call and schedule an appointment so we can discern the true cause and begin the healing process.
Our bodies on technology
The technology age is advancing rapidly, "optimizing our lives," and our health in the process. However, as the guinea pig generations for many new technologies, it is important to remain wary about the possibilities for harm that they could cause. As chiropractors, we are seeing more people than ever with the so-called, "reader's neck," which has now become widespread under the moniker "Forward Head Posture." Due to our heavy reliance on cell phones, tablets, and computers, our posture is worse than ever and many people are carrying up to 20-30 pounds of extra pressure on their spine at all times.
Here are a few places to use caution when it comes to using (or over-using) technology:
- Our spines: forward head posture, poor spinal curvature and the premature onset of degenerative spinal conditions are all linked to sit-heavy lifestyles, poor posture, and overuse of cell phones.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries: typing, typing, typing we are forever typing out messages, e-mails, and hashtags, before we even get to our office job. This does a lot of damage to fingers, hands, wrists and up to the shoulders.
- Headaches: staring at screens for too long can lead to eye strain, muscle spasms, and tension headaches.
How we help at Greenway Plaza Chiropractic
We are your safeguard for spines against the incursions of technology. With postural analysis, we can determine whether you have forward head posture and if so, begin a routine of stretching and strengthening of the neck muscles that will make it easier to hold your head properly; through chiropractic adjustment, we can effect great improvements on nerve functioning throughout the body which will reduce pain and help the body function optimally. We can identify behaviors that may contribute to repetitive stress and counsel you on ways to negate the damage of overuse injuries. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today!
Happiness in the workplace takes constant dedication
Even people who are immensely satisfied with their job still need to monitor themselves to prevent the onset of weariness. We need to constantly listen to our bodies and brains: take stock of your stress levels, feel the twinges of pain and respond to them in a healthy manner rather than burying them away until they surface calamitously in the future. Essentially you need to separate "working you" from "you you."
Ways to stay happy in the workplace
By exerting control over the factors that are within your power, you can set the balance equally against those factors you cannot control and thereby prevent a lot of unnecessary stress. Here is a brainstorm of ways to improve your experience in the office:
- The comfort of your workspace: temperature is important. Too hot and your brain boils; too cool and your office feels like a cave so 65-70 Fahrenheit is a good target. Your ergonomic setup is also important for preventing pain and contributing to good posture.
- Noise: keep the sound down as much as possible to contribute to a more zen atmosphere in the office.
- Engage with coworkers: face-to-face, not over e-mail!
- Keep moving: stand up and go for no-screens at least once every hour
How we help
While there has been a recent change in the attitude of companies toward employee health, many offices still sell their employees short in terms of ergonomics and stress management. At our office, we are your resource if you are feeling burned out from office life. We can help your body combat physical stress by addressing subluxation and muscle tension, which will allow you to focus on feeling your best mentally. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.