The average full-time worker spends 1,650 hours at work each year. So, what you do at work day in and day out plays a big role in the health and functioning of your body.
If you have an office job, or one where you spend the majority of your day sitting, think of all those hours you spend not moving and potentially developing poor posture. It's no wonder we so often see office workers who develop neck, upper back, and shoulder pain.
Today, we are going to focus on the shoulders in particular because they are often forgotten at the office. We tend to think of shoulder pain occurring with trauma, strenuous lifting, or a sports injury. The truth is, something as inactive and repetitive as desk or computer work can wreck havoc on your shoulders.
We will go over 5 exercises you can do in the workplace (without causing much disruption to your day) that can help relieve your shoulder pain.
1. Desk Angels
Sitting straight in your chair, raise your arms straight up toward the ceiling. Keeping your body still, move your arms together and then apart out to the sides. Keep your shoulder pulled back and down. Repeat 10 times.
2. Shoulder rolls
Hang your arms down to your side. Keep your back straight and your chin tucked in so your ears are directly over your shoulders. Roll your shoulders forward 10 times and then repeat backwards 10 times.
3. Side Stretch
Sit up tall in your chair (or stand up). Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers. Turn you palms to the ceiling as you lift your chin up, tilting your head back and looking up. Keeping your elbows straight reach to the right, hold 10 seconds, and then reach to the left. You should feel a stretch all the way down your arms and side of your trunk.
4. Upper Trapezius Stretch
Sitting with your back straight, tilt your head sideways toward your shoulder Extend your arm on the same side down toward the floor to provide a gentle pull. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times on each side.
5. Reverse Arch
Sit on the edge of your chair and reach your hands behind you to hold on to the back of the chair. Press your chest forward, arching your back and opening up your chest. If it feels comfortable, you can let your head fall back to open up through the front of the neck. Breath and hold up for about 30 seconds. Slowly lift your head, straighten your back, and then release hold of the chair.
Don’t forget that the most important thing you can do during your work day is to move around at least once an hour. I don't mean a power walk or stair sprints (might be a good idea at lunch time though). Just stand up and move around. This loosens all your muscles and joints from your neck down to your ankles, and everything in between including your shoulders. If you are walking around the office, try to let your arms hand and swing loosely at your side as opposed to carrying stacks of papers or a bag on one shoulder.
It doesn’t even have to be for very long, even a short break from sitting is beneficial for your health.
Now that you know how long you actually spend at work and potentially in an office chair, it’s clear to see how shoulder pain can result from poor posture and inactivity in the workplace. Head over to our Facebook page for more tips and tricks to relieve shoulder pain at work and at home.
And Remember . . .the hours you work build up and so does the pressure and pain in your shoulders!
For any specific questions or concerns about your shoulder pain, or if you just want the FAST TRACK to RELIEF, request a call from one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy by filling out this simple form by clicking HERE.