5 tips for the desk worker for better posture

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we see many patients that suffer from a sore neck and back that is directly related to their workplace posture. We understand that the workplace can be stressful, juggling multiple projects and trying to get it all done before the deadline. When we are busy we often forget about our posture until our body gives as a painful reminder.

Here are some 5 handy tips you can apply to your workplace and your body will thank you for it!

Take a break.

If the project you are working on isn’t due right this second you can afford to have a break. Try and stand up and stretch out every 30-60 seconds. These are not long breaks, they will only be 1 or so minutes and it will give your body a chance to reset.

Don’t Slouch

You are probably slouching right now while reading this. Sit up straight. Slouching consistently increases tension in our low back and neck and will eventually lead to pain. Posture is a reflection of our lifestyle and if you want to be that person with a hunched over posture, keep slouching. Try and make a conscious effort to have a nice upright posture as much as possible.

Position your computer correctly.

Have the monitor at eye level approximately 45-60cm from your face. Keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees on the desk.  Having your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable reach will minimise the stress placed on your shoulders.

Get a sit – stand desk.

With these desks you have the ability to alter the height from a seated to a standing position. So even if you stand a few hours the day you will be doing you back a favour. Standing encourages good posture and takes a lot of pressure of your back.

Have an ergonomic chair or a lumbar support.

Your chair is your best friend to support your back and posture while at the desk. Set up your chair so that it is at the right height so that your feet sit flat on the floor with your knees at 90 degrees. When you sit there should be little space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees. We advise each chair have a lumbar (low back) support to maintain our important lumbar curve.

Try and integrate these tips into your day to counteract the effects of sitting too long.

We advise if possible to have your workstation professionally reviewed in addition to these little tips. If you have any further questions regarding workplace ergonomics don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

The chiropractic adjustment cracking sound

When you go to a chiropractor you will most likely receive a chiropractic adjustment. The process is painless and the chiropractic adjustment is usually accompanied by a “cracking” sound.

At Dee Why Chiropractic care we have found that new patients to chiropractic are a bit unsettled with the thought of us “cracking” their backs. Once they understand exactly what is happening it puts their mind at ease and they grow to love it. There is no bones breaking and no ligaments snapping as the sound may suggest.  We are simply opening or gapping the joint, which produces a “pop”.

What exactly is causing the sound?

In between each of the joints in our spine we have a substance called synovial fluid, which acts to lubricate and nourish our joints.  The synovial fluid has dissolved gas within it and when the joints in the spine are opened via a chiropractic adjustment there is a vacuum created within the joint. This vacuum sucks out the dissolved gas from the synovial fluid creating the pop or crack that you hear. This gas (nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide) acts to fill the space created by the vacuum.

What are the benefits of a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a gentle force applied to the spine with the specific purpose to increase motion, reduce nerve irritability and improve function.

Ever had a stuck or stiff joint? Most likely yes. The chiropractic adjustment aims to restore normal motion to the joint and relieve stiffness. In doing so it takes pressure off the surrounding ligaments, muscles and nerves, ultimately leading to pain relief.

What if I’m in pain and don’t want a chiropractic adjustment?

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we respect the patient’s wishes if they do not want to receive an adjustment. The good news is that we are a multidisciplinary clinic and utilise a wide variety of treatment techniques. Treatments may involve a combination of joint mobilisations, dry needling, active muscle releases, IASTM and taping that are very effective at treating conditions of the musculoskeletal system.

If you have any questions regarding chiropractic adjustments or think we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Excessive mobile phone use and neck pain

Text Neck: Excessive mobile phone use and neck pain

 

Text neck is a real thing and is becoming increasingly more common due to advancements in technology. Many people today suffer from pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back due to overuse of mobile phones and tablet devices.

Depending on our lifestyles we will spend a certain amount of time looking down, whether it be working at a desk or reading our favourite novel. However today we have very powerful mobile phones and tablets that can entertain us for hours on end.

This adds another activity that increases the time we spend looking down and this can lead to excess strain put on our spinal joints and muscles. Are you on a phone right now reading this? Are you slouched over, looking down? Most likely yes.

Don’t worry you are not the only one. For instance next time you are on public transport have a look around and you will notice almost everyone is slouched over on their phones. Text neck is rapidly becoming an epidemic.

Text neck is a defined as neck pain and damage that is a result of looking down at a mobile phone too frequently and for too long. This is becoming extremely common, especially due to the growing popularity of social media, games and streaming sites such as YouTube.

If you have children it is important to monitor how long they spend on these devices as it could lead to changes in their spinal alignment that could lead to chronic pain in their adult lives.

 

Effects of Text Neck

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Tight achy shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Postural changes
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Pinched nerves
  • Mid back pain
  • Low back pain

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

  • Hold your phone at eye level as much as possible
  • Don’t spend too much time looking down at your phone
  • Take frequent breaks from phones and desk work to reset your posture
  • Stretch out you chest and shoulders as the tend to get tight
  • Do mid back extension exercises
  • Heat packs across your shoulders if they are chronically tight
  • Listen to podcasts or music to entertain yourself

In some cases you may be experiencing significant pain and physical therapy is recommended. Text neck is a postural syndrome and for that reason we will do a full postural exam to identify where the pain is coming from and what exercises would be most beneficial to correct the problem.

Tight chest muscles and posture

 

A lot of patients that we see here at Dee Why Chiropractic Care have rounded shoulders and a slumped over posture. One of the major contributing factors for this is tightness of the chest muscles.

Not many of us think about maintaining good posture throughout the day and don’t even realise that they are slouching. There are many downsides to slouching and they include fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches. One of the muscles that get tight due to slouching is the pectoral (chest) muscle group.

Tight chest muscles and rounded shoulders are common in individuals that:

  • Spend long hours at a desk
  • Frequently use a computer
  • Spend a lot of time on a phone or tablet
  • Drive a lot
  • Bend, lift and carry often
  • Poor postural habits
  • Lack regular physical activity, stretching and mobility exercises

When we are thinking of someone with good posture, their ear should be in line with their shoulder. But when they have poor posture their head will translate forward, there is an slouch in their mid back and their shoulders roll forward. The main contributor of forward rolling shoulders is the tightness of the chest muscles.

Tight chest muscles and posture

 

Effect of rounded shoulders:

  • Increased load put on neck joints and muscles
  • Neck and mid back stiffness
  • Increased load on rotator cuff muscles
  • Headaches
  • Low back pain
  • Subacromial impingement

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

The chest muscles get tight when you sit most of the day because they are in a shortened position. We advise that if you work at a desk to try and stand up every hour and reset your posture.

Stretch out your chest muscles. Stretching the chest muscles is extremely easy and comfortable. Find a door and place you forearms on the doorframe with your arms parallel to the floor. Lean forward until you feel a good stretch in the muscle and hold for 1 minute, breathing normally throughout the stretch.

If your chest muscles are chronically tight they have most likely built up with fibrous tissue within the muscle. Use self-massage devices such as trigger point balls or hand held massagers to break up these adhesions to make it more comfortable before you stretch.

Do mid back extension exercises to counteract the slouched posture and restore movement to the joints that are stiff. The easiest way to do this is to get a foam roller and place it across your back at the levels of your shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands and arch over the foam roller for 1 minute. If this exercise is uncomfortable or aggravates a condition you might have, stop immediately.

If you have any questions about posture or any of the exercises feel free to contact us.

Start stretching out your chest and correcting your posture today.

What sitting for too long does to your spine & health

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we treat a lot of office workers complaining of headaches, neck and low back pain caused by sitting for prolonged periods without a break!

As humans we are meant to be upright and are built for movement. Anatomically we haven’t changed much from our “hunter/gatherer” ancestors however our lifestyles have quite significantly. A large percentage of the population live very sedentary lives, working hours on end at a desk and getting little exercise.

Lets go through some of the most common conditions associated with sitting for prolonged periods:

Postural changes

When we sit, we tend to slouch. It is almost unavoidable. You can sit with good posture until the muscles fatigue and then you begin to slouch. Over the years our posture adapts to our lifestyles, which can manifest into painful conditions and premature degeneration of our spinal joints.

Weakened core

Having a strong core is important as it plays a major role in protecting the spine. However when we sit, the core is less active/contracted hence there is more pressure put on the spinal joints. Use it or lose it…heard it before? Sitting for too long leads to core muscle deterioration and fat accumulation around the abdomen.

Weak legs and glutes

Our leg muscles are meant to be strong as they are supposed to be supporting our body. As mentioned earlier when we don’t use them, we lose them. So our muscles start to waste and without strong gluts and legs to stabilise us, you are at increased risk of injury.

Muscle imbalances

Muscle imbalances occur with poor posture. Some muscles become tight and some become weak. Ultimately leading to altered mechanics of the body and increased stress on the joints (particularly the spine) that may lead to some painful conditions.

Neck and low back pain

Sitting for prolonged periods with bad posture leads to increased stress on spinal joints; commonly the discs in the low back become compressed. Compressed discs can lead to conditions such as annular tears, pinched nerves and sciatica.

The human head approximately weights about 4-5kg and while we sit our head is typically in the forward position or looking down. What this does is increase the load on the neck and shoulder muscles, as they have to work harder to support the head. This leads to tight shoulders that can lead headaches and changes in the neck curve that can lead to chronic pain and spinal degeneration.

Increased weight

No surprise here. Increased weight increases stress on your joints.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Studies have shown that people who have sedentary lifestyles have an increased risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease.

Moving is good for your spine and overall health. Sitting for too long increases the risk of chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 

What sitting for too long does to your spine & health

Steps to break the cycle:

  • Get out and move
  • Take regular breaks from sitting
  • Have your work station ergonomically assessed
  • Get a standing or adjustable desk
  • Get a back support
  • Stretch tight muscles and strengthen weakened muscles
  • When sitting try your best to sit upright and engage your core
Choosing the right pillow for you

Choosing the right pillow for you

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Do you constantly wake up in the morning with a stiff or aching neck? Have you considered the reason for your pain is the pillow you are using?

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care it is quite common for people to present to our office with unbearable neck pain after a nights sleep. A lot of the time it is a result of poor sleeping posture and using the incorrect pillow. 

Sleeping posture

When we talk about posture you generally think about maintaining a straight spine whilst going about our day-to-day lives, but it is also very important to address your sleeping posture. When you consider you spend approximately a third of your life in bed it is important to try and maintain the best spinal alignment and support. Poor sleeping habits can create changes in your spinal alignment and your overall posture. This may lead to conditions such as muscular strains, ligament tears and headaches.

Don’t sleep on your stomach

Before we delve into what pillow is right for you, we want to eliminate one of the worst sleeping habits people like to do, which is sleeping on your stomach. We know some people feel comfortable on their stomach but we need to break this habit.

Why is sleeping on your stomach bad?

When we sleep on our stomachs we flatten out our important low back curve that can lead to low back pain. Sleeping on your stomach also makes it harder to breathe and in some studies has shown to increase intradiscal pressure of lumbar/low back discs. Also when you sleep on your stomach you will tend to sleep with your head turned to one side throughout the night. Just imagine turning your head to the right and keeping it in that position for 6-8 hours. This can cause ligament strains, muscle tears and potentially a permanent shift of the vertebra.

Choosing the right pillow

  • Side Sleepers

    If you are a side sleeper you now have to figure out what pillow is right for your body type. The first thing you need to address is the height of the pillow. Whilst sleeping on your side you want to keep the spine as straight as possible.

    The pillow should fill the void between your head and shoulder. So if you have broad shoulders you would go with a higher pillow (high profile) and if you have narrower shoulders you can opt for either a low or medium profile pillow. To get a good gauge of what is the right one, stand up with your shoulders against the wall and then insert the pillow into the space.

  • Back Sleepers

    Just think of someone with bad posture; they have a hunched mid back and their head is in front of their shoulders. We want to avoid this position as much as possible when we sleep; that’s why back sleepers should have shallower/thinner pillow.

    Some people like using contoured pillows and they are ideal for back sleepers. A pillow that is somewhat elevated in lower third is ideal as it will cradle the natural curve of the neck and support it.

Density and Material of your pillow

Got a feather or down pillow? Toss it out! What you need is something with a memory foam/latex material of a medium to high density. These will give you the optimal support throughout your sleep. These tend to be a tad bit more expensive than feather pillows but you need to invest into good pillows considering the amount of time we spend in bed… and they last for years!

Hopefully this answered all your questions regarding picking the right pillow. If you have any more questions contact us today!

How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

When people first injure themselves they don’t know who to see. Some people take pain medication or see the GP… but what about a Chiropractor? Chiropractors are known as spine specialists however we are not limited to the spine. We cater for disorders of the musculoskeletal system including sports injuries, postural rehabilitation and repetitive strain injuries.

Every chiropractor you will see will have undertaken at least 5 years of university training to be proficient at the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal injuries.

Common conditions treated at Dee Why Chiropractic Care:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Shoulder pain
  • Poor posture
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Ligament sprains

Whether you come in for a quick check-up on your posture or are suffering from something more complex such as disc herniation or impinged nerves, a Chiropractor will complete a thorough case history and examination to reveal the exact cause of your pain.

Don’t be the person that asks Dr Google why they are in pain, you will just end up causing yourself a great deal of stress…leave the diagnosing to the professionals.

We make sure you know exactly how and why it has happened, as we believe understanding why it has happened will prevent future episodes.

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we encompass a multidisciplinary approach when treating your condition. We utilise an array of techniques to release tight muscle tissue such as dry needling and active releases in addition to chiropractic adjustments to get you out of pain as fast as possible.

Call or email us today with any further questions!

Is my neck pain and headaches related?

Is my neck pain and headaches related?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Headaches are extremely common and can be caused by many things such as illness, dehydration, trauma and alcohol. But if you have been suffering from chronic or recurring headaches, have you ever thought that it was related to your neck?

Ever had neck pain and headache at the same time? Chances are they are linked. These headaches are referred to as Cervicogenic Headaches. At Dee Why Chiropractic Care many patients present to our clinic complaining of this. The good news is we can help.

What is a Cervicogenic headache?

To put it simply: “cervico” means “neck” and “genic” means “from”.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by dysfunction of the muscles, ligaments and joints in the neck. One of the most common causes of cervicogenic headache is poor neck posture that alters the biomechanics of the joints in the neck and increases the stress on surrounding tissues. However many other causes can lead to cervicogenic headaches such as spinal arthritis, disc degeneration and whiplash.

These headaches can come on quickly from sudden movements of the neck or they can develop over time when the neck remains in the same position for prolonged periods (often sitting).

Symptoms of Cervicogenic headaches

  • Pain that is at the base of the skull, forehead, side of the head or behind the eye
  • Steady pain that is “dull”
  • Tenderness of neck muscles
  • Certain movements of the neck may intensify the pain
  • Pain that can last for hours or days
  • Stiff or painful neck
  • Shoulder tightness
  • Nausea, dizziness and blurred vision in some cases.

How Dee Why Chiropractic Care can help

The first step is to identify exactly what structures in the neck are causing your headaches. Once it has been identified the chiropractor will explain to you exactly what has happened and what we need to do to fix it. Treatments involve restoring normal motion to the joints under stress and taking pressure off surrounding tissues.

Treatment techniques used to treat cervicogenic headaches include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Active muscle releases
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Strapping
  • Specific home exercises
  • Postural rehabilitation exercises

If you found this information helpful and want to find a solution for your headaches don’t hesitate to contact us.

Is my neck pain and stiffness related to my posture?

Is my neck pain and stiffness related to my posture?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Neck pain and stiffness is extremely common in today’s population. A lot of us develop poor posture, which increases the strain of the joints, muscles, and ligaments in the neck. Poor posture in the presence of neck pain is a common presentation we see here at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and is something we can definitely help you resolve!

How do we get poor posture?

Poor posture is something that is developed over time and is usually a reflection of our lifestyle. A large majority of the population have desk jobs that involve slumping over paperwork and typing away at a computer. Some of us do manual work that involves a lot of bending over in awkward positions such as a mechanic working under the hood of a car or a tiler kneeling and bending, working on the bathroom floor.

The body is highly adaptive and will change to accommodate your lifestyle. If you slouch over most of the day the body will adopt that posture over time; the body does whatever you teach it to do. In summary poor postural habits, leads to poor posture.

Common causes of poor posture:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of awareness or education of correct posture
  • Poor ergonomic work setup
  • Nature of work
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Weakness of the core muscles
  • Decreased fitness
  • Weight
  • Repetitive activities
  • Injury
  • Hereditary

How does poor posture cause neck pain and stiffness?

When we look at someone from the side, ideally the head, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should line up; that would resemble someone with ideal posture. Typically people with bad posture with have a their head in front of their shoulders and a slouch in the mid back.

The human head weighs approximately 4.5-5kg and when the head translates forward it increases the workload of the structures in the neck. Imagine holding a bowling ball close to your body and then holding it out in front of you… it’s a lot harder! Stiffness and pain in the neck is a result the increased stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the neck and shoulder!

In addition when we have this posture we typically lose our important C curve in our neck that acts as a shock absorber against gravity potentially leading conditions such as:

  • Cervical (disc) degeneration
  • Wry neck
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Arthritis
  • Pinched nerves

Can Chiropractic Help?

Absolutely!

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we pay special attention to posture and determine whether it is linked to your pain. We take a digital posture photo in clinic, marking specific landmarks on the body and calculate how good your posture is.

The posture photo tells the practitioner what muscle imbalances are occurring and if there are any alterations in your spinal alignment. This will assist in developing an appropriate treatment and postural rehabilitation program for you.

We sit down and go through the posture photo to make sure you completely understand what is happening in terms of your posture and what steps we need to take to correct it.

Contact us today if you want to find out whether your neck pain and stiffness is related to your posture!