In the modern world humans spend too much time sitting down in unhealthy positions. From watching TV, playing computer games to working in an office sat at a desk all day. It’s not what we were designed for but the way of life has changed and hence the rise in back issues caused from bad posture whilst sitting for prolonged periods.
Sitting for long periods of time is unnatural and the body tires after while, making it difficult to maintain good body alignment. This can lead to conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Compartmental Syndrome and a variety of other, neck, shoulder and back problems.
The first thing to do is set up your chair and desk in positions that ensure optimal ergonomics, however without the right physical attributes the body will not be able to hold itself in the correct position. We need to understand the body when it’s sitting at a desk to allow us to set the right exercises to help the body maintain good posture. What tends to happen is as the body tires we end up slouching forward, which tightens the muscles around the front of the shoulders, arms, chest and neck. At the same time over stretching and weakening the muscles around the back.
What we need to do is lengthen the muscles at the front of the upper body whilst the muscles at the back need to be shortened and strengthened. The muscles in the upper back that need strengthening are the Trapezius muscle group. They support the spine to help keep the body upright and maintain the correct position of the shoulders. The other supporting muscles that need strengthening are in the neck called the Longus Capitus and Longus Colli. In the lower back the muscles requiring strengthening are the Transversus Abdominal and the Pelvic Floor, which help position the vertebrae of the lower back in neutral alignment.
In addition to strengthening the back of the body we need to stretch across the front of the shoulders and neck. The muscles needing stretching are the Pectoralis major and minor, Biceps, Anterior Deltoids, Sternocleidomastoid and Anterior Scalenes. By stretching these muscles along with the strengthening of the muscles on the back of the body the position when sitting for long periods will improve. This should reduce the risk of getting ailments associated with sitting at a desk for long periods.
There is lots of information out there on the web if you want to find the right exercises for both strengthening and stretching the muscles mentioned in the article. Yoga has been well documented as helping with these office related syndromes. You could speak to a yoga teacher and ask for classes specifically tailored to dealing with these issues. Certain types of yoga will strengthen the body and increase flexibility in the desired parts of the body to relieve office syndrome.