Thursday, March 29, 2018

5 Dangerous Words...

5 Dangerous Words

A friend had passed this along to me.  I thought it was fitting for what I do for work, perhaps even for what I do for "fun" too.

I don't know too many people that haven't thought these 5 words to themselves as their body is balking at whatever they are doing:  Bending over to put your pants on (ouch, my back!), running (my foot is killing me), sitting at work (my shoulders and neck), going up and down the stairs (my knees...) know, normal life stuff. 

It seems we go into this denial state that our bodies are speaking to us in this manner.  "Oh, I'll be fine in a few days."   Usually that few days turns into a few weeks.  A few weeks turns into a few more because "I'm too busy to deal with it" while holding out hope that it will get better.

Ignoring these signals from your body can set you up for long term consequences.  Typically if the pain really hasn't gone away after a few days to a week, it's best to get on top of it BEFORE your body has a chance to create new compensatory patterns to avoid the pain.  Think of it as your body's way of getting back at you for failing to address the "signals" it screamed at you for pushing through it.

Because...."maybe it will go away."  

As weeks go by, which suddenly turns to months, maybe....just decide to actually take action.  The pain teases you for a day or so pretending to be "better".  NOPE.  You attempt to try a do the thing that angered it in the first place thinking all that rest should have helped.  The pain returns as if it never left.  

Because..."maybe it will go away."

Believe me, we are all guilty of this behavior.  We literally go through the stages of dealing with an injury.  Shock, denial, anger, frustration, acceptance and finally taking action because you are done dealing with it.  However by that time, your body has managed to re wire itself to either work around the painful patterns or carefully attempt to work through them.  Your movements change and muscles tighten without your conscious knowledge.  All while leading to possibly creating new problems....remember those long term consequences I mentioned earlier?

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Because...."maybe it will go away."

Lesson here: don't wait to address your body's cries for attention.  There is no sense in suffering more than you need or want to. Nobody has time for that!  I know a PT that can help sort it all out and ease your mind AND your pain!  :-)

When March Madness ends...

By now the storm of March Madness has overtaken offices and brackets have imploded with a 16 seed defeating a 1 seed for the biggest upset in tourney history.

Welcome to the time of year known as being the least productive time of year for the work place.   At least the first two weekends of the tourney, Thursday and Friday to be more specific.  We always wanted to have a 4 day weekend every week didn't we?  

The office pool distractions of the tournament is a good thing for our bodies but probably not so good thing for work productivity (don't tell the boss!).  It gets us out of the office chair and talking with our office mates rather than staring into computer screens.  

And as the tourney winds down, we will resume the endless hours in front of the screen leading to neck and shoulder tightness which can potentially bringing on dreaded tension headaches.

Ever find yourself extending your neck, slowly gravitating to the screen as your back C curves unnaturally as the day progresses? Not only does your neck and shoulders suffer, but your low back pays the price too.

Hints for work station ergonomics:
At first it seems unnatural, almost difficult to maintain that position.  Your body is so used to that "comfort" position that sitting up is a foreign concept.

By stacking your head on top of your shoulders, and your shoulders on top of your hips with your feet on the floor, you minimize any effects of gravity on your body.  Your muscles don't need to exert themselves adversely trying to hold your head away from your center.

2) Rule of 90....degrees that is...
Elbows, hips and knees at 90 degree angles as you sit.  You should look like a chair if you are doing it correctly.
The chair look you are mimicking places your body parts into ideal biomechanical positioning for your body to function with minimal risk of "injury".

3) Your screen should be directly in front of you with your eyeballs staring directly at the center of the screen.  If they aren't, you need a monitor stand to raise the height of the monitor appropriately. 

Those are a few tips to help ease the tension.  Enjoy the rest of the "Madness", it's been a fun few weeks watching the Cinderellas knock off the big name schools.

If you are are still experiencing neck and shoulder issues, it doesn't hurt to "Ask the PT" if there might be more going on than just poor posture and less than ideal ergonomics.