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Posts Tagged ‘Back Pain’

Get the downloadable version of “Pain Free at Work” at Udemy.com

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The downloadable version of Pain Free at Work is available at Udemy.com. This is a really cool site with all sorts of interesting courses. You can learn how to use Excel, publish an eBook, improve your photography skills, practice yoga… you name it. Membership is free and the prices vary per course. Pain Free at Work is regularly $19.00, but is now available for download for $9.00 if you use the code “Reboot”. That is a savings of over 50% of the regular price! The great thing about this website is that, after you purchase a course, you can access it from any computer, anywhere. This means you can do your exercises on the road, at home or at work. Click here to go to Udemy.com

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Too Much Time Sitting Increases your Risk of Heart Disease

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Most of us try to get our daily exercise checked off our “to do” list either before or after work.  We do this with the hopes of staving off health problems like diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.  However, a recent study from the University of South Carolina suggests that, if you spend most of your day sitting,  daily exercise may not be enough.  Researchers at the university found that men who were sedentary for more than 23 hours a week had a greater risk of dying from heat disease (by a whopping 64%) than those men who only sat for less than 11 hours a week. And these were mostly men who exercises regularly. If you imagine that someone is a weekend warrior and doesn’t sit at all on weekends, those numbers suggest that sitting for 5 hours a day during the work week makes you 64 percent more likely to die of heat disease. Yicks! Most people I know sit at a computer for more than 5 hours a day.

So what are we to do?  We can’t stop working (or going to school) and computers are not going anywhere soon… Most forms of transportation to get to work or school involve sitting. We need a little relaxing down time after work and most of us find that sitting in front of the t.v. is the perfect antidote to the stresses of the day. So we sit… a lot.

Sitting has become a necessary part of our life, but there are ways to reduce the detrimental effects of being stationary. Here are some ways to work to beat the sitting blues:

Keep up with your exercise routine before or after work

Go for a 15 minute brisk walk on your lunch break

Take the stairs

Don’t email the person down the hall at work. Get up and go talk to them in person.

Take a phone call standing up.

Get an adjustable desk that allows you to either sit or stand to work.

Get a computer rest break program installed on your home and work computer and use it to remember to take micro-breaks (15 second breaks as well as longer, 5-minute breaks).

Decrease your t.v. watching time from 7 days a week to 4 or 5 days a week. Go for a walk instead or clean out the garage. Do something other than sitting.

All of these measures will not only help to decrease your chances of heart disease, but they will also decrease your pain levels associated with sitting. In a 2011 study published by the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, office workers in Portugal who added 15-minute stretching exercises, three times a week to their work routine reported less pain in areas of the body that were bothering them (such as wrist, back and neck) when compared to workers in the same office who did not do the stretching exercises.

Technology is changing the way we do business and, in turn, we need to change the way we treat our bodies to accommodate for the excess sitting and typing. Move more and try to fit physical activity into your day wherever and whenever possible. The more breaks you take that get you up and moving, the healthier you will be and the less neck pain, back pain and wrist pain you will have.

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Posture Perfect: Factors that affect your posture.

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

This just in… slouching is bad for you.  Whether you are sitting or standing, slouching can do one or all of the following:

1.  Injure vertebral discs in the neck, mid and lower back.

2.  Decrease blood flow to the extremities of the body and therefore cause arm, hand or leg pain.

3.  Make you look older.

4.  Make you look tired and less confident.

5. Decrease the ability of your lungs to take in air properly and, therefore, make you more fatigued.

6.  Cause headaches

7.  Cause poor digestion

8.  Affect your mood and can lead to depression

9.  Mid-back burning sensations

10.  Neck and back pain

Improving your posture is no easy task.  I am constantly trying to work on mine.  My job is such that I send most of my day hunched over a person on a treatment table and, when I am not doing that, I am hunched over a computer – writing about being hunched over  a treatment table. Lots o hunching going on.  And, in fact, most jobs these days involve a lot of sitting (either driving or at a desk) or standing in one place looking down for prolonged periods of time (such as grocery store employees or assembly line workers).  As I said, lots o hunching going on.

People commonly get frustrated (myself included) when they are trying to correct their posture because, like most habits, the slouching is difficult to stop. Perhaps a discussion on why we slouch might shed some light on the issue and make it easier to kick the bad habit.

Slouching occurs for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Weak back muscles
  • Tight chest muscles
  • Tight hamstring muscles
  • Tight thoracic spine
  • Poor ergonomic set up
  • Poor seat/chair form (think about the bucket seats in older cars)
  • Poor vision
  • Poor hearing

I created the Pain Free at Work DVD to show people what to do about the muscle imbalances, tight thoracic spine and ergonomic issues that can negatively affect posture. There are exercises, stretches and educational information in the DVD that will help beat the poor posture blues.

Poor hearing and poor vision are two additional factors that are common and yet, commonly overlooked.  If you cannot see the street signs or the words on your monitor clearly, chances are you will lean in and slouch forward in order to see what is in front of you. Having a regular eye exam is important.  I also recommend decreasing any glare coming from behind your monitor to improve your vision.  Poor hearing is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  Here is a little known fact about me – and one I will now proudly share – I wear hearing aides.  I’ve been wearing them consistently now for over a year and I can tell you that it has helped my posture enormously.  I was born with a low-tone frequency hearing loss that I ignored for most of my life.  I finally took action because it was forcing me to strain forward to hear my patients as they laid on my treatment table.  If you suspect a vision or hearing problem affecting the way you work, don’t delay and take the necessary actions to correct the problem.  Straining to hear or see throughout your day will cause you to slouch and we all know how bad for you that is.

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Back to school or work resolutions aim to decrease stress and pain at your computer

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

The Back to School time of year is here again and with it comes  feelings of renewal and promise.  For me, back to school is even better than New Year’s for setting resolutions.  Something about returning to a regular schedule demands refocus and stimulates change.  The goals of Back to School resolutions are to recapture (or maintain) those feelings of lightness, calm and relaxation you experience during your summer vacation.  Come September, you may not be able to push the pause button on stress as you did on vacation, but you can make changes that will decrease the aches and pains of desk work, improve your mood and energy and make you less desperate for your next vacation.

Here are some of my favorite back to work resolutions (try one or two and see how great you will feel):

1.  Learn how to type properly.

If you have to look down at the keys in order to type at your computer, you are putting excessive strain on your neck joints and are at risk for a disc herniation.
Try free online typing classes at GoodTyping.com

2.  Schedule a daily “No Screen Time”.

This means no computers, no TV and no video games for a set period of time every day. I recommend 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. as an ideal time to escape from technology. This policy will help you have less pain and stress, as well as be more active and relaxed – all in the middle of a work week.

3.  Take more mini-breaks at work.

A study on data entry operators found that several short, 5-minute breaks were more effective at decreasing discomfort than a traditional break schedule.  I recommend downloading the RSI Guard Computer Rest Program onto your computer. It will tell you when it is time to take micro-breaks, remind you to stay relaxed and show you desk stretches during longer break periods.

4.  Get some form of physical activity during your work day.

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina calls exercise “cognitive candy”.  I love that!
Try a brisk 10-minute walk during a meeting with a coworker, a game of basketball during lunch, 20 minutes of upper body weights while on a conference call… Whatever your preference and however you can fit it in, exercising at work can stimulate creativity, help you solve a problem and improve energy and productivity.

5.  Drink more water at work.

Why? Because staying hydrated will decrease headaches, help you lose weight and give you a good reason to get up from your desk and move around (to re-fill your glass or use the restroom).

Make healthy choices now and you won’t even need to make a New Year’s Resolution later!

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