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Is Stiffness and Pain Getting in The Way of Your Focus at Work?

neck stiffness
Hey dad, how many times do you find you are struggling to concentrate on your task due to discomfort in your neck or back?

Are you frustrated with stiffness and pain continuing to return no matter what you try?

This struggle is something most of us can relate to due to the nature of our occupations requiring sitting in front of a screen for hours at a time.

In this article you will learn:

  • Why stiffness and pain occurs in our spines
  • Tips to reduce stagnancy at work
  • Exercises to improve movement in the workplace

Why do we get stiff?

Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? A study in 2018 suggests prolonged sitting contributes to a shorter lifespan and has links to heart disease, obesity, depression, dementia, diabetes and cancers.

We are not designed to be stagnant; our bodies are made to move!

When sitting we are placing the spine in an abnormal position. This is often accompanied with poor posture and creates strain on our ligaments, muscles and spinal joints.

Over time this causes misalignment of the spine and contraction (tightness) of our ligaments and muscles.

These changes reduce the full range of motion we should have in our spines and alters the function of the nervous system that the spine protects.

This ‘nerve interference leads to altered function in wherever those nerves go to – the muscles, joints and internal organs. The most familiar effect is stiffness and pain.

Poor Spinal motion can affect your balance and brain function

Poor spinal motion can also affect your body position sense (for coordination and balance) and altered function related to digestion and energy.

When the spine moves poorly, less receptor messages pass up to the brain, resulting in less stimulation of the brain, and ultimately hampered brain function.

We commonly hear patients talk about other problems such as clumsiness and less ability to concentrate when their spine is moving poorly.

Some Tips to Help You Reduce sitting for long periods:

  • Set an alarm to take a break every half hour
  • Keep a bottle of water on your desk so you’ll have to get up often to use the bathroom (ensures movement and good hydration; two birds with one stone!)
  • Get a sit-stand desk
  • Stand or walk while on calls
  • Take a walk to your co-workers workspace rather than emailing/calling

Exercises to Help You Move Better

Neck Rolls: While standing or seated, roll the head in a circular motion clockwise, then anti-clockwise. Perform 10 times.

Trapezius stretch: Hold the side of your chair to create traction through your shoulder, slowly look towards your opposite armpit. Hold for 10-20 seconds on each side.

Mid back extension: While standing or seated, interlock your fingers and place them behind your head. Practise pushing your chest out. Perform 10 times.

Lower back stretch: While seated or standing, rotate your torso either side, in addition to bending side to side. Perform 10 times.

Hamstring stretch: While seated, extend one leg out and try to reach to your toes. Hold for 10-20 seconds on each side.

Hip flexors stretch: While seated, cross your leg over the other to create the letter 4. Lean forward and press down on the knee of the crossed leg. Hold for 10-20 seconds on each side.

Get Yourself Checked

At Canberra Spine Centre, our chiropractors work with the spine and nervous system to improve spinal motion and the function of the nervous system it protects.

This helps to not only unwind the stresses accumulated from your seated lifestyle, but also to assist with improving bodily function through better nervous system function

If you’re concerned about the effect that sitting for long periods is having on your body, mind and health, please call us on (02) 6257 9400.

If you would like some more information about the spine and nervous system and how it relates to your health, please check out the other articles on our Facebook page or go to our website: