Too much Computer Time?
Have you started spending more time at your desk lately? You don’t want to have a sore a neck and shoulders, but don’t know where it comes from except that sitting at your desk so much is bad…but it’s your job.
Let’s take Jo for instance. Jo is a Wilderness Ranger used to hiking in the woods, cleaning toilets, driving and sundry other tasks. Then Jo got promoted and now she’s stuck at a desk, largely immobile except for the wiggling of her fingers and occasionally rotating her neck to the right. Since movement is life…things aren’t looking so good for Jo at the moment. But she’s determined to preserve her well being so she starts to look around for some kind of information on how to keep your body happy when you have a desk job. She subscribes to this really interesting blog and learns why she sees so many of her coworkers reaching up and grabbing their upper shoulders and squeezing them and complaining of pain and stiffness.
It’s about leverage.
It’s because there’s this ten pound ball on a stem and the stem has lots of small muscles that are great for keeping the ball balanced up there and rotating this way and that, but if the ball gets tilted forward (it’s almost always forward) then all those little contractile guy wires have to stay contracted all the time and they get tired out. The farther off its balance point the ball gets the more tension is put on the guy wires.
If you stand up right now and lean forward as far as you can without having to take a step, can you feel your whole body start to work harder to keep you there?
So muscles are working harder…where’s the shoulder soreness come in? Great question. Take one of your arms and extend it horizontally out to your side. Now leave it there for five minutes…hum de dum….okay, has it been five minutes? How does your deltoid feel? (that’s the round cap muscle that covers your shoulder joint) Is it a bit tired? Feeling slightly sore? Okay, now do that again, but leave your arm out at your side for the rest of the day…and then do it again tomorrow. (Actually please don’t.)
So now poor Jo has an understanding of the problem and the solution is obviously to keep the ball balanced on the stem, because when it’s balanced the guy wires barely have to work at all. But it’s a bit abstract. How’s this going to help Jo as she sits at her desk? Why does the ball/head go forward and how can you keep it balanced on its center of support?
Keeping Your Head on Your Shoulders
Next time you’re at your desk just pause a moment and examine how you’re sitting. Important: don’t start to adjust and change it. Just sit there in your regular way and examine it. Just notice all the details. Is your pelvis tilted back and your back rounded? Where are your feet? Is your sternum drawn in closer to your spine and your shoulders a bit up and forward making the back of your neck feel a little scrunched up? Just notice all you can and don’t correct it yet. Got it? Now notice your general emotional state, the trend of your thoughts, your inner life. It doesn’t have to be described, just felt as much as can be felt.
Now let’s try an experiment. Adjust your feet so that they’re flat on the floor and a bit more than hip width apart. Take a gentle full breath right into your heart. Let your sternum rise up as you take this in-breath. Now lift your arms up in a V like you were reaching to bring in the whole sky. Elevate your gaze as you do this and take another full breath into your heart. Let your gaze become level again and, without changing any other part of this position let your arms fall gently down so that your hands rest on your thighs. Don’t change the position of your shoulder blades or ribs as you bring your arms down. Now notice your general emotional state. Notice whether there is more openness in your chest, the back of your neck or anywhere else.
So what changed first, your position or your inner feeling state? Really…its all one piece.
Now you can do this all the time. Why? Because it feels great and gets the ball closer to its balance point, and that equals no more shoulder pain.
How did this work out for you? Let me know.
P.S. Here’s an extra treat. How can someone affect their total confidence level in 2 minutes…and what does that mean for their alignment?