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August 20, 2014
By Kin Wai Wu, MSPT
Ouch! I don’t know what is wrong of my body…I haven’t done anything serious to hurt myself! My neck and shoulder are killing me! I have no idea why my arms are going numb! I encounter the similar complains all the time for the past decade in my practice. The majority of my patients have a full time desk job. Unfortunately, they never have a regular stretching routine in their office.
Most people heard the phase “You don’t use it, you lose it”. This could totally relate to the flexibility of your neck and shoulder muscles. You are “molded” to a posture you stay at the most. Which means your body would tighten up the chest and shoulder muscles habitually if you are typing at work all day long.
I assume most people do not want to look like the guy from “hunchback from Notre Dame”. A great office ergonomics and a simple stretching routine could help you big time!
Our wonderful naturopath Dr. Beth Quintana, N.D. wrote an article on office ergonomics. Click here for the article .It is not that difficult to have a good posture at work.
Here are some stretching exercises you could do at your office:
1) Upper trap stretch: Hold it for 30 seconds on both shoulder (or 2 sets of 15 second).
2) Triceps and Latissimus dorsi stretch: Hold it for 15 seconds for 2 sets. You can also do it in a seated position.
3) Doorway (Chest) stretch: Hold it for 30 seconds (or 2 sets of 15 second). Make sure NOT to place your elbows past your shoulders because it overstresses your shoulder joint.
4) Shoulder rolling: Roll your shoulder for 30 seconds from a smaller to a bigger circle. Then roll another way for 30 seconds.
5) Head rolling: Roll your head slowly and gently for 15 second and then roll it the other direction. Do it 2-3 times.
*I recommended my patient to perform the exercise program every 1-2 hours at work.
I understand doing stretching exercise may not be convenience for you. Some people may think such exercises do not apply to their life. Believe me, neck and shoulder pain will catch up to them and there is no escape. Furthermore, do not take pain medication like multi-vitamin. Your body will develop resistant with those medications and it will not work when you keep taking it! Plus, it’s toxic for your body! It is your choice whether you want to live your life pain free or not.