How Foam Rolling Relieves the Pain of Working at a Desk
How Foam Rolling Relieves the Pain of Working at a Desk:
We’ve previously discussed how sitting is the new smoking and the health benefits associated with standing desks
– but what if a standing desk isn’t an option for you?
Stiffness and soreness of the back are common occurrences for those of us who work in an office. The lack of movement and often times poor posture that we adopt can be attributed to back and other types of pains. There is a good chance that mobility plays a factor too or, a lack there of of.
What Is Mobility?
Mobility can be described as the range of motion of a joint under specific circumstances. It has to do with how well you can move. Can you move freely and free of pain? Training mobility should really be the first port of call for anyone who is serious about general health and well-being.
So why is my back stiff after sitting in the office all day?
If you work at a desk and typically sit for extended periods of time during the day, you may be suffering from more than just the 3 o’clock slump. Sitting can leave you feeling exhausted, sore and unmotivated at the end of a long day at the office.
Humans were not meant to sit in an office all day. We weren’t designed to do that. Instead, we have evolved to move, to hunt, to forage. The past 200,000 years has seen our bodies adapt for precisely these purposes. 9-5 office jobs are a relatively new thing, and they could well be the reason you are experiencing back pain. Being in a seated position all day really effects your mobility.
Over time, sitting in the same position can negatively impact your natural posture and the way your body is intended to move. Sitting is excellent for resting from activity, but the body’s posture is more natural when standing or lying down. Our bodies are designed to be in motion, not static all day at a desk. Sitting all day can wreak havoc on your muscles and joints.
How perpetual sitting destroys posture:
When your muscles are stuck in the same position for hours on end, day after day, they begin to resize themselves to accommodate these habitual, long-term sitting sessions.
This causes uncomfortable knots in the muscle groups that have been contracted while you are sitting (pectoralis, anterior deltoid, abdominals, and hip flexors, to name a few).
How can we start correcting these problems and work on preventing further postural deviation and injury?
Foam rolling and other methods of getting mobile are excellent ways to alleviate pain, help muscles return to their normal lengths, increase circulation, and decrease your chances of injury in both work and activity.
The muscles that are contracted all day while sitting at a desk have developed knots in them. These knots in turn limit the range of motion of your joints and muscles, which also decreases circulation. Applying pressure to those knots with a foam roller will help massage the knot out so the muscle group can return to its intended length.
Here's how you go about it:
Using a foam roller or ball, roll over the belly of the muscle group until you find a trigger point or pain point.
Avoid rolling on or close to your joints.
Apply pressure to that point for at least ten to fifteen seconds, but no more than 45 seconds if you are just starting out.
Rest as needed, and repeat this process for the rest of the muscle group.
Keep in mind that the rolling itself is only used identify the knots in your muscles. The static pressure you apply to that trigger point or knot is what flattens it out.
One of the best features about foam rollers and other mobility devices like hockey/tennis balls is that they are inexpensive and portable. Bring them with you to work and leave them in the office. Try to take ten to twenty minutes during your workday or lunch break to roll out your trouble areas.
To help you with your mobility we have found this fantastic site - simply pick a muscle, watch a short tutorial and start getting mobile now!
Many companies now offer standing desks, gym memberships and extended lunch breaks among their benefits packages. The summer is a great time to start planning a career move, so whether you have made up your mind and are definte about a change of scenery or just want to explore your options we are on hand to offer advice and guidelines on how to proceed with the best opportunity for you.
Send us your CV or give us a call to talk things through.