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      Is your pregnancy pain musculoskeletal? Try these stretches!

      Is your pregnancy pain musculoskeletal? Try these stretches!

      There are several reasons why you might experience pregnancy pains related to muscle, joint and nerve. Depending on where the pain is, the intensity of the pain and the type of pain will determine the best course of action to resolve your pain. If the following exercises don’t help or if your pain is intense, please get a consultation for personalised advice or visit your doctor. Furthermore If you are unsure of why you have pain (i.e. it’s an unfamiliar pain), if this is your first pregnancy or if your pain is severe, sharp, shooting, throbbing or deep you should see your doctor or specialist before all else.

      Low Back Pain

      This is the most common pregnancy pain we see at the clinic. The pain is usually right on the dimples at the very bottom of the low back. Sometimes there is referral up and down or across the low back as well. From how long women leave it before seeking treatment, I sense that there is a lot of pregnant ladies putting up with low back pain unnecessarily. Although low back pain is a common part of pregnancy and a lot of women experience it, this doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Here in the clinic we find treating the gluteal and hip flexor trigger points together with some exercises and sometimes ROCK taping very effective. We treat either lying on your back, side lying or face down with a supportive belly pillow depending on how far along with your pregnancy you are, what area we are treating and depending on what you find most comfortable. We won’t keep you in any one position for too long and we will support you with pillows and towels where needed.

      Try this exercise at home to see if it helps with your low back pain. Its purpose is to gently mobilise the spine allowing all the ligaments, tendons and muscles to get some blood flow and relax. If one way feels better than the other, you could try just doing one part of the cat stretch and finishing back at neutral spine (where the spine is in its natural position with the little dip in the low back).

      Cat StretchImage result for cat stretch yoga

      1. On hands and knees gently curve your back towards the roof like you are trying to lengthen the back of your shirt. Make sure you softly drop your head as you get to the end of range.
      2. Now do the opposite. Gently dip your stomach and ribs towards the floor this time softly lifting the head as you reach the end of your range.
      3. Repeat 5-10 repetitions. Once you get the pattern working try moving one spinal segment at a time starting at the base of the spine and working your way up to the head. Try adding a breath, breathe out to move and take a breath in to prepare at either end.

       

      Rib Pain

      Depending on how far into your pregnancy you are, the pregnancy rib pain your experiencing could likely be your baby pressing up against your rib cage, especially in your 3rd trimester if your baby is in the breech position. If this is the case, positional changes, heat and if really bad pain, paracetamol (at the recommendation of your doctor or specialist only) might be of assistance. The most common musculoskeletal cause of rib pain we see in the clinic however is from the change in spinal position. This is from changes to your centre of gravity along with increased levels of the hormone relaxin. This makes the deep supportive spinal muscles (multifidis & rotators) work harder and in a shortened position which activates their Trigger Points which so happen to refer around the ribs. If your pain seems to start at the back or side of the ribs and run around towards the front, this is the most likely cause of your pain. To help alleviate this pain at home, try the following stretch.

      Side Lying Rib RotationsImage result for side lying chest opener

      1. Lie on your side and support yourself with pillows, cushions or towels as needed. One under the head, under the belly and between the knees is often helpful.
      2. Bend your elbow of the arm that’s on top, drawing the elbow to the roof and sliding your hand along the lower arm.
      3. If it feels comfortable open out further by extending the arm behind you until you feel a gentle stretch around the chest area.
      4. Bend the elbow to gently bring the arm back through to the start position.
      5. Repeat 10-15 times each side.

      Notes: Shorter limbs make for lighter work, so always start with the elbow bent and lengthen it to increase the exercise. Don’t forget to breathe! Try a breath in for step 2 and a breath out for step 3. Then a breath in to hold and a breath out to come back to the start position.

      Sciatica

      Sciatica is a very common pregnancy pain. It can come from the lower back or from a deep muscle in your bottom called the piriformis muscle. Sciatica is distinguished by a pain starting around the bottom or hip area and travelling down the leg past the knee, sometimes as far as the ankle or the foot. During pregnancy the hormone relaxin increases making the ligaments soften. This increases the amount of load placed on your muscles, sometimes the muscles can cause the problem, other times you can end up hanging into new postural positions and putting a lot of strain on the joints especially around the lower back and hips which can aggravate the discs or nerve spaces in the lower back. We treat sciatica a lot in the clinic. Try the following exercise for the back and see if it helps.

      4 point kneeling – The rock back

      1. On your hands and knees make sure your hands are under yImage result for 4 point kneelingour shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Also make sure you are in neutral spine (no dip, no curve).
      2. Gently rock back towards your feet about half way then slowly return to the start position.
      3. Repeat 10 -20 times remembering to maintain neutral spine the entire time.

      Hip/Groin Pain

      There are several things that can cause hip and groin pregnancy pain depending on where the pain is therefore it is essential that you get a proper diagnosis before progressing with any exercises or stretches to help. A more serious causes of pain in this area is a DVT or deep vein thrombosis which is a type of blood clot. Some other things that can cause pain in this area are the round ligament, osteitis pubis, pubic symphysis irritation or inflammation and referral from the lower back.

      In the clinic we mostly see people with pain relating to an imbalance of muscles around the pelvis and low back. Due to being right or left dominant in stance and exercises we tend to be a bit stronger on one side. As the relaxin hormone kicks in these muscles have to support your pregnant body more and more. If some muscles are stronger than others they start to play a game of tug of war which can cause pain in many different areas. We get people in who have already been diagnosed with things such as symphysis pubis, osteitis pubis, lower back disc irritation and round ligament pain just to name a few. Most people we see have more general aches and pains through the glutes, hips and groin and have not yet had a musculoskeletal diagnosis. We find either way, it comes back to this imbalance of muscles so our assessment, treatment and prescribed exercises will revolve around loosening off the tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles. If there is inflammation we might use taping to help support to give the area a chance to heal. Taping is very safe during pregnancy unlike many anti-inflammatory medications.

      One of the most common exercises I give to pregnant women is to strengthen their glutes and hamstrings. If you are still comfortable lying on your back try the first exercise, otherwise try the side lying exercise.

      Pelvic Curl with Thera-band

      1. Tie the band firmly around your thighs and lie on your back.
      2. Place your knees and feet approximately hip width apart. Make sure your knee heights are the same before continuing, we want everything in alignment.
      3. Next imagine dots on your shirt and pants where your spinal segments are. What colour are your dots?!Image result for bridge with theraband
      4. Press with 50% effort out into the band and peel one dot at a time away from the floor starting at the bottom and working you way up to your shoulders. This should take about a 5 seconds and is nice to do on a breath out.
      5. Take a breath in at the top to prepare.
      6. Breathe out to slowly return the dots back down to the mat, this time starting at your shoulders and working down towards your bottom, try not to skip the lower back and maintain the pressure out into the band if you can.
      7. Repeat 5 repetitions the first time you do it and see how you feel the following day. Slowly add an extra repetition each day until you are doing 20 a day.

      Sidelying leg kick with Thera-band

      1. Tie the band around your thighs just above your kneeImage result for side lying with band around thighs and lie on your side supporting yourself with pillows particularly for the head and your belly.
      2. Lift your leg to hip height then keeping your body steady, squeeze your glute muscles to take the leg behind you about 5-10 cms depending on your flexibility.
      3. Slowly return it back to the start position and repeat 5 times each side. If you feel good the next day you can add 1 repetition each day until you are doing 20 each side.

       

      I hope you’ve gotten something out of todays article on pregnancy pain. Please remember that these are not tailored exercises for you specifically so if your pain persists or gets worse please come in and see us or if serious problems with your doctor or specialist. Here at Waverley Myotherapy Clinic we use a pregnancy pillow so you may be able to lie face down, a real treat during pregnancy! Once you are too big for the pregnancy pillow we will support you with pillows in the sidelying position. If you have any questions please contact us.

      Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

      Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

      What is TOS and how do us myo’s treat it? That’s what today’s blog is all about! If you have any hand or arm symptoms such as pain, numbness or tingling even if it only occurs at night it would be worthwhile having a read.

      What is TOS?

      Thoracic outlet syndrome is where the blood vessels and/or nerves become squashed between the first rib and the clavicle. This can result in numbness, tingling or pain in the neck, shoulder, arm or hand or a combination of symptoms in a combination of areas on down the same arm. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms it can be diagnosed and treated. It usually takes a month or two to resolve. If your symptoms are severe we suggest going straight to a medical practitioner for scans and specialist opinion however if your symptoms are moderate or mild Myotherapy may be a quicker and cheaper alternative to alleviating your pain.

      professional massage therapist releasing tension in female patients neck
      TOS is related to the nerves that come from your neck down into your arm

      How does Myotherapy treat TOS?

      We will first do some clinical assessment including a neural assessment to check what is causing your symptoms. Sometimes even though you have the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, your pain and symptoms can be coming from elsewhere such as carpal tunnel, from the neck of referred pain and tingling from trigger points around the shoulder, neck, arm or forearm. Once we determine the true cause for your symptoms we can usually do some treatment straight away.

      The treatment for TOS specifically involves treating the muscles and mobilising the joints involved in drawing the first rib and the clavicle closer together. These might include the scalenes or the pectoralis minor for example. Next we will work with you to develop a plan so it doesn’t become a recurring theme. This may involve simply identifying the cause and changing some habits however it may also include some home based exercises, self treatment with a self release tool or some specific exercises you will need to do under supervision. We take into account your busy lifestyle so don’t worry that you’re going to go home with a long list of exercises.

      What is the best home treatment for TOS?

      Want to try something at home to help? Find us on instagram or facebook @myothrive for tips such as spiky ball release for the pectoralis minor muscle. Because the pec minor attaches from the coracoid process which sits just under the collar bone, and then down onto the first couple of ribs, when it gets tight and short, it can lift the rib cage up causing a narrow space for the nerve, artery and vein to pass through. By gently releasing the muscle we can allow the rib cage to drop back to it’s usual resting place and give more space to the blood vessels and nerves. Overdoing this one will leave you feeling bruised so take it slow for best results.

      If you want to organise a chat with one of the Myotherapists here at Myothrive, simply email us at [email protected] and we can organise a time. Want to book now? Here’s the link!

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      Headache Relief

      Headache Assessment Headache relief comes from a thorough assessment. We can tell in the clinic if your pain is musculoskeletal by taking a history of your headaches and assessing your joints, muscles and nerves. If we see anything of concern, we will refer you to your doctor with a letter of findings. “more common in […]

      Is your pregnancy pain musculoskeletal? Try these stretches!

      There are several reasons why you might experience pregnancy pains related to muscle, joint and nerve. Depending on where the pain is, the intensity of the pain and the type of pain will determine the best course of action to resolve your pain. If the following exercises don’t help or if your pain is intense, […]

      a SMART way to return to the gym. Goal setting is the key!

      a SMART way to return to the gym. Goal setting is the key!

      back-to-bym

      Here in Australia gyms, Pilates Studios and Personal Trainers are starting to open again post our COVID-19 hibernation. I’m sure you’ve already seen plenty of posts and blogs telling you to go slow in getting back into it to avoid injury and to avoid early burn out but we think this is such a valuable time to make some meaningful SMART goals to really set you up for success, a positive mindset and ultimately a great end to the year! Read on to find out what a SMART goal entails, what the readiness to change stages are and a step by step of how to start putting your goal together.

      What is a SMART Goal?

      A SMART goal is an acronym to assist in making a goal. It stands for:

      S – Specific. Make your goal specific and narrow with numbers and real deadlines. 

      M– Measurable. Make sure your goal is trackable. Decide how you are going to track your progress and reevaluate when necessary.

      A – Achievable. Work towards a goal that is challenging but possible. Make sure to consider your deadline when considering whether your goal is achievable.

      R – Relevant and Resonant. Make sure your goal is relevant to your values and any larger objective you have in mind. Make sure it resonates and excites you!

      T – Time-based. Give yourself a deadline. Make sure it is realistic but ambitious to motivate you and help you prioritise.

      A SMART goal differs from setting a broad goal by giving a comprehensive vision of what your goal looks like and gives you something to action straight away.

      Consider your readiness to change…

      Before you start jumping into your goal setting, consider where you are at on the “Readiness to Change Scale”. If you are a beginner, your first goal might simply be to try a few different personal trainers for example. This would be the preparation phase. Here’s the full scale so you can identify where you are at specific to the goal you have in mind.

      Pre-contemplation.

      You are likely considering a change but you occasionally catch yourself saying “Do I really need to…?” You are likely in denial. Try asking someone close to you, who you know will be honest with you. An ideal gym goal for someone who is in the pre-contemplation stage might be “I will do some research on the benefits of regular exercise”.

      Contemplation.

      At this stage, you know you want to make a change but you haven’t worked out anything beyond this such as barriers (time, cost, fear, etc…). A good goal for this stage might be “I will research some of the gyms and personal trainers in the area” and a seperate goal for this stage might be “I will work out who I’m going to ask to be my support person in helping me achieve this goal”.

      Preparation.

      You are likely now prepared to try a few things. You’ve mentally overcome your barriers and now you are ready for a small, achievable goal. A ideal goal at this stage might be “I will book in a personal training session with X” and “I will try that class that my friend recommended”. Remember at this stage you are just having a taste to see what you like and what might suit your lifestyle, budget etc…

      Action.

      This is the stage where you take definitive action towards a change. This might be joining the gym, committing to a 10 class pass at yoga or signing on with a new personal trainer. The goal at this stage might look like “This week after yoga class I am going to buy the 10 week set”.

      Maintenance.

      At this stage you have been taking action consistently. You now feel ready to work on maintaining the new behaviour over the long term or making the goal a bit more challenging. A good goal for this phase might be “I am going to buy the annual pass to yoga and commit to 2 classes each week”.

      How to write your SMART goal.

      1. Write down your big picture goal

      This is the thing that really moves you and excites you! For example – “I will drop a dress size by the end of the year as we are going on a beach holiday!

      2. Write down the first step you need to make in order to achieve your goal

      This will become your SMART goal. This is also the time to consider your stage of readiness to change. Example – “I will increase my personal training sessions to 2x per week” This person seems to be in the action stage but may also be in the maintenance phase.

      3. Expand the first step to achieving your goal into the SMART acronym

      Specific. Example – “I will do Personal Training on Mondays and Thursdays from 7am – 7:45am starting next week”. Notice the Specific included where it would be done, dates and times and how long it would be done for on each occasion.

      Measurable Example – “I will cross off the days on a calendar each time I go to Personal Training so I can see my attendance progress. I will get the Personal Trainer to help track my physical progress by measuring me once a month”. For a goal to be measurable you need to come up with something that will be different when you’re finished, something to let you know you’ve completed your goal.

      Achievable Example – “I have already been going to Personal Training once a week regularly for over a year so I feel I can easily add one more session in per week.” To effectively ask yourself if this goal is achievable you need to reconsider  what stage of readiness to change you are at surrounding this goal. As noted above this example is at the action stage.

      Relevant and Resonant. Check back to your bigger goal. Is this smart goal really in alignment with what you are trying to achieve? Is it in alignment with your values? Great! Now make sure it resonates. If not already, change it to a powerful “I am” styled statement. Imagine when this goal is complete; does it make you want to cheers and high five? Example “I am so excited to go to Personal Training twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays from 7am – 7:45am as I know it is helping me to achieve my bikini body!”

      Timely. Example – “My deadline is Thursday the 19th of November 2020 when I will have my final measurements taken and reward myself after training with buying a new bikini for the holiday!”  Write down the exact date and time of the deadline for completion for this goal.

      Now you have your goal, congratulations!

      4. Next write your goal down with you’re favourite pen on your favourite paper and stick it up all over the place!

      Put one on the bathroom mirror, one near the kettle, one in the bedroom where you will see it when you wake up. Ideally stick your goals up in 5 different places. You can have more than 1 goal on each piece of paper but your main or most important goal should stand out the most or be at the top. I use photo paper with a felt tip pin so it stands out and that way I can use different inspiring colours as well. Once you feel like that goal is a reality or you have moved into a different stage of the “readiness to change”, make sure you update your goal by going through the same process.


      I hope you take the time to use this approach and that you get as much out of it as we do. We use this a lot around MyoThrive. If you get stuck try searching google images for SMART goals sometimes there are worksheets available that lay it out and all you have to do is fill in the blanks. If you’ve never made a goal before or would love to learn more check out this article. It was a really good read about setting goals. If you’re working on something specific feel free to bring it along to your next Myotherapy session and we can spend the first 5 minutes on it. Click here to find a time that suits you best.


      The things your plan and focus your energy on always come into fruition because they are achievable, actionable goals that you truely desire!

      Anon.
      Top 3 spots to self massage when working from home – upper body edition

      Top 3 spots to self massage when working from home – upper body edition

      If you already have a self massage ball, you probably know how amazing they are. Whether its a spiky ball, a lacrosse ball or a borrowed cricket ball from your kids, they are great for relieving tight muscles all over the body. Due to covid-19 isoloation happening all over the world, todays post will be focused on helping those who are working from home.

      Disclaimer: These exercises may not be right for you. We recommend you check with your musculoskeletal health care provider before trying any new exercises or therapies.

      1. Forearms

      A lot of our customers have been commenting how sore their arms are getting from going from a ergonomic desk set up to a throw together home office set up. Some of them don’t have the same amount or length of breaks because everything is so handy in a home set up environment. If this is sounding familiar and your arms are starting to feel like dead weights, give this self release technique a go.

      Step 1 – Put the ball on the bench and put your forearm on the ball.

      Step 2 – Hold on the sore spot and then move your wrist back and forth, you can even add a stretch with the other hand which aids the myofascial release. 30-60 seconds on each spot should be plenty.

      Step 3 – Try finding a few more spots. Also try the other side of the forearm.


      2. Between the shoulder blades

      This self massage technique can be done with one ball, but it feels amazing if you have 2. You can also use what’s called a bak ball or a peanut where it’s like they stuck 2 balls together. If you don’t have that you can simply put 2 balls inside a sock to hold them together. The 2 balls in a sock idea actually works better because you can move them further apart for different areas of the spine by tying knots between the balls. Try this technique on the between the shoulder blades first but it may feel nice to try on your neck or other areas of your back. Just remember you are aiming to release muscle, don’t put the balls directly on the spine.

      Step 1 – Lie on your back with the balls underneath you between your shoulder blades. Make sure the balls are going across ways so they don’t press on your spine.

      Step 2 – Hug your elbows and gently circle your arms 5 times in 1 direction and then 5 times in the other direction. It should feel like a nice massage.

      Step 3 – Repeat this process on 2-3 other sore spots you find between the shoulder blades.


      3. Neck

      No doubt that your neck is probably coping most of the home office stress right now. We go from working at the computer in our work time to checking our phone (words with friends is soooo addictive), watching television or reading a book in our down time. All this head forward posture puts a lot of repetitive load on our neck. Try this self massage technique if your neck is feeling stiff or starting to give you headaches!

      Step 1 – Lie on your back and place the ball under the base of your skull.

      Step 2 – roll your head from side to side or do small nodding actions to find a good spot.

      Step 3 – Let it sink in on each sore spot for about 30-60 seconds. Choose 2 or 3 spots, there’s no benefit to over doing it!


      Lower Body Edition Coming soon

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      Need Supplies?

      We stock spiky balls, lacrosse balls and peanuts for all your self massage needs! Simply email [email protected] with what you’re after. If you live local to us we’ll even drop it off to your letter box in iso style! In addition we are offering online and in clinic consultations for people who need a bit more help. Click here to find a time that suits you best.

      Check out some of our other learning hub posts

      How much exercise should we really be getting?

      How much exercise should we really be getting?

      Wether you enjoy yoga or climbing mountains, we all need exercise!

      Government guidelines for exercise are 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week and 2 strength training sessions per week. These recommendations are based on current research but what does moderate cardio feel like and how hard do the strength sessions have to be?

      150 minutes of moderate cardio per week is most achievable when broken up into 30 minute chunks which ends up being 5 cardio sessions per week. Moderate means a perceived exertion level of 7/10. If you were chatting with a friend you would need to pause every 5 words or so to catch you breath. Need something more technical? I love the 180 formula developed by Dr.Phil Maffetone. This formula is designed to keep you in the aerobic zone to avoid poor posture and gait and to decrease incidence of injury. It’s also been shown to give you greater fitness advances.

      … the take home? what is moderate for me might be different than what is moderate for you.

      Strength training on the other hand is a little more complex. Research tells us to avoid things like osteoporosis and muscle deterioration it’s important to do strength training but do you need a gym membership?

      In short no, you don’t.

      Some simple squats, push ups and pull ups can do the trick. Exercises like these you can do anywhere. They can be altered to make them easier or harder depending on your fitness levels and they can be altered to allow for any injuries or conditions you may have. We can work out a program for home that it right for you and that will keep you motivated.

      clinical_exercises

      The Classic Push Up Exercise can be done in so many different ways, here the medicine ball is designed to be a slight unstable surface to work your muscles in a balancing fashion. We can change to angled push ups, kneeling push ups and supported push ups with a band to make them easier while you learn technique or overcome an injury.

      How to get your personalised program.

      To get your own personalised program book online or fill out our contact form. We look forward in helping you achieve your health and fitness goals!


      Example Program

      • Pelvic curl x 10
      • Bridge x 10
      • Standing crab walk with stretch band x 5 each way
      • Stretch Band straight arm pull x 10
      • Stretch Band straight arm row x 10
      • Bent over row with dumbbells x 10
      • Band assisted pull ups x 10
      • Band assisted push ups with hands wide x 10
      • Band assisted push ups with hands narrow x 10
      • Stretches

      If you want to learn more about how we can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, please contact us and one of our friendly Clinical Myotherapists will be in touch with you!


      5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Posture at Work

      5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Posture at Work

      Like most people, you probably spend the majority of your waking hours at work. If you’re in an office setting with repetitive tasks, this can mean a lot of time in positions that aren’t the best for you. Here’s 7 simple tips to improve your posture at work for reduced pain, better function and enhanced energy!

      Tip 1: Have regular breaks

      Ultimately, even if you sit perfectly, you’re not going to feel good if you’re not having enough breaks. Did you know that over half of Australian adults have admitted to being either inactive or relatively inactive(1)? Government guidelines suggest minimising the amount of time you sit as much as you can(2). A good starting goal is to have a bit of a stretch or a glass of water and a toilet break every hour however ideally a 5 minute break every 25 minutes.

      Other things you can do is set up your printer away from your desk, ask your company for a standing desk or simply stand up do a few squats and other desk appropriate exercises, then sit back down!

      I’m a huge fan of the Pomodoro Technique(3). It teaches you to have a 3 minute break every 25 minutes and then a longer break every 4 blocks of 25 minutes. You can set it up using an app on your phone. It has research backing it’s effectiveness in increasing effeciency, plus you get regular breaks! On my breaks I like to see how many squats I can get done in the time or set myself other little physical goals. Adds a bit of fun to the day. Maybe you could implement it as a office wide thing and have a little friendly comp going?!

      In conclusion, this is by far the most important thing you can do for your posture at work. Our bodies are designed to move and as they say, if you don’t move it, you loose it!

      Tip 2: Use a D-cushion

      D-cushions are very versatile and because they are small you can carry them with you in your backpack making them ideal for home, the car and the office. They can fit in the small of your back, behind your mid back or can act as a head cushion if you decide to do some lunchtime Pilates or meditation.

      I prefer the little D-cushion over the bigger back cushions simply because you can play around to get it feeling just right for you. It is also a good feedback tool rather than a support tool. I’m generally anti anything that is going to allow you to get lazy or forget to take regular breaks. If you notice you are restless in your seat or you’re slumping away from your cushion – it’s time to take a break!

      Tip 3: Get your screen right

      If you are using a laptop there are 2 problems. Firstly it’s probably too low which leads to looking down at the screen; secondly the text may be too small which can lead to head forward posture, especially if your eyes are getting tired towards the end of the day. To fix this I suggest getting a laptop riser with a seperate keyboard and mouse. Also try to increase the font of the text or numbers you are working with to prevent yourself from leaning forward. When you look forward, your eyes should be roughly level with the top of the screen.

      Even if you have a desktop computer the screen may still be too low or too small. Adjust with a few books under the screen or get a screen riser with a few draws for storage.

      If you are in the unfortunate position of having to deal with 2 screens try alternating the set up of the screens. Always try to have the main screen you are working off right in front of you though. Your secondary screen could move from left, to right to above. Not only will this help balance out the working of your neck muscles it will also keep your eye muscles strong and healthy.

      If both screens are equal in time needed the splitting it relatively down the middle is the best way. Try to make it a game where sometimes you just look with your eyes, sometimes you move your head, sometimes you rotate your upper back and sometimes you rotate your chair. This way you will spend time moving different parts of your body all day. Remember you still need regular breaks!!

      Tip 4: To cross or not to cross?

      Crossing the legs or ankles is a common question I get. My philosophy is, it’s better to keep moving and be in different postures than be in the same perfect posture all the time. So if you find yourself crossing your legs one way, perhaps cross them the other way for a bit or sit a completely different postural position instead.

      If you have any vein issues in your legs such as varicose veins or a family history of it, it’s probably best to avoid crossing at the knees. You could still safely cross at the ankles for a little bit if you want to. Same goes for low back issues and sciatica issues that are persistent in nature. You are probably in need of more regular breaks and specific stretches or movement therapy exercises to help.

      Tip 5: Specific Stretches to try

      Standing Back Bend (4)

      There are endless lists of things to try for posture at work if you do a google search. However to keep it simple, think opposites. If you’ve been sitting a lot typing, what does your body need that is opposite to this?

      Try a standing backwards bend. Repeat 5-10 reps every hour. Go to the point of resistance and then return to straight. This helps stretch your hip flexors and it’s really good for your spine! More back bends here.

      Pec and Arm Stretch (5)

      Try a Pec Stretch. First stretch your hands wide out to the sides. Then gently draw your shoulder blades together stretching the front of your chest and arms. From here you could do a few arm circles or bend the elbows to get a deeper pec stretch into the pec minor muscle. More pec stretches here.

      So there you have it. A few simple ways to improve your posture. Try implementing one per week until you have them all set up or in your regular routine. If you have a specific postural concern please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] We love to help! I’ll say it again, just one more time – there is not substitute for regular breaks from your desk. Ideally every 25 minutes even if it’s just standing up, doing a few stretches and sitting back down 🙂

      References

      (1) Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013. Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-2012.

      (2) Australian Government: Department of Health. Physical Activity Guidelines

      (3) The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo.

      (4) Taconic Spine Website

      (5) Pexels.com

      Main Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

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