Since I began a career in bodywork, I’ve become a real wimp at sitting at the computer for long periods of time. With a laptop, I find it too easy to get into funky positions like a forward torso slump, shoulders-as-earrings, neck bobbing for apples kind of thing. You know the position. And even with an ergonomically correct chair, desk, keyboard and screen, the nature of being so focused on your work still forces you to over-use certain muscles. When I begin to get headaches, jaw tension, neck and shoulder pain from this posture, I like to call it Computer-itis.
I want to give you a few simple stretches to fight this beast.
- Stand in a doorway with your hands on the door jam and level with your ears. Your elbows are directly below your hands, so that there is a 90 degree between your armpit and your hand. Step through the door and BREATHE. Feel the stretch in your Pecs and deep in your shoulder blade. Hold it for 20 seconds. This will lengthen the chest muscles and strengthen the back side.
- Clasp your hands behind your back and reach up and out from your body
- Sitting down again, place your right hand on your left temple and your left hand on your low back. Now BREATHE and gently tug your head to the right and down. Do you feel that good stretch on your left neck muscles and top of your shoulder? Repeat on the right side.
- Take a deep BREATH, sit up straight, and gently tilt your head back so your looking at the ceiling. Now put your both hands on your clavicle, or collar bones. You should feel a great opening on the front side of your neck. Laterally flex your neck to the right and reach your left hand to the floor. Repeat on the other side. Finally, tilt your chin to your chest to complete the circle.
- Eagle pose: Cross your right arm under your left arm at the elbows and twist your forearms. Clasp your hands and gently tug your shoulder blades down your back. Don’t forget to BREATHE. Repeat with the left arm under first.
So all my desk-dwellers, my cubicle crew, my 9-5 posse, hat’s off to you. You have a much higher Computer-itis tolerance than me, I’m sure. However, that doesn’t make it okay. Remember to give yourself some of the lovin’ you are also pouring into that plastic box.
Also, you are the driver of your body just as you are the driver of that mouse. If that mouse had a glitch, you would be very upset with that mouse and do something about it. You may even complain to your boss. “Hey boss, I need a new mouse.” Well, if these stretches don’t help repair your computer-itis, you can always come to me and say, “Hey Boss Lady, I need a new body.”