Did you know more than 60% of working adults sit at a computer all day! What a pain in the neck?!? At Busybody Physical Therapy we commonly treat individuals who hold a desk job and have developed neck and shoulder pain over time. We hear complaints of tightness, weakness, and pain. Usually, these pains have evolved into what we consider chronic pain, meaning pain lasting longer than 12 weeks. These pains can be constant or recurring, but ultimately make it difficult to concentrate throughout the day. These symptoms often have developed as a result of a holding poor posture/position our bodies can no longer tolerate. Unfortunately, during these sedentary jobs, many forget to stand, move, and stretch throughout the day, often stuck in nonoptimal posture.
Patients who work at a desk for long periods of time can benefit from both mobility and strengthening program, not only to improve your activity level but also to help reduce pain. We usually recommend patients set a timer/reminder every hour or every other hour to stand and complete a few minutes of exercise. Setting a reminder will help keep you accountable and get you moving throughout your day. To provide you with a general program, some common exercises our physical therapists prescribe include stretching for the front side of your shoulder targeting the pectoralis muscle complex, stretching a few neck muscles, and strengthening for the back side of your shoulder targeting the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers/retractors.
The goal of these exercises and movement patterns is to move you out of positions your body is not tolerating, and move you into a position better for you. In a postural study completed a couple years ago (2013, University Of Texas)
the authors found those who exercised had a better posture and less depression than those who didn’t complete exercise. Interestingly, those who sat with poor posture didn’t necessarily experience more pain than those who sat in a good posture. Our bodies respond well to exercise, and for those who sit, we want to get you out of sustained postures that your body is not currently accepting.
So what would your first visit look like during physical therapy at Busybody? Your physical therapist will discuss the history of your symptoms, your personalized goals, and the plan to meet those goals. With a physical therapy assessment, we will pinpoint nonoptimal movement patterns related to stability, mobility, or a combination of the two. We can then provide you with an individualized program to help improve your pain and movement patterns. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to decrease dependency on the provider and give you the tools for self-management and injury prevention.
Try these exercises out to help with that nagging neck and shoulder pain, and don’t forget to set the reminder! If you find yourself benefiting from these exercises minimally, they are causing more pain than good, and you are still experiencing pain, check out the services we provide as well as our treatment philosophy. Busybody Physical Therapy is conveniently located in the Galleria and Heights area. We look forward to being a part of your rehabilitation process, and we encourage you to email us or call us to set up a consultation today.