We all tend to slump a bit at our desk, we look down into our lap to view the screen on our handheld device, and our chin pitches forward a little when we drive… Yikes!

When your chin moves forward and your shoulders ‘round’ inward, a number of unpleasant things happen at your neck and shoulders.



Sideview of Woman with Poor Posture

Ah! The position we all love, but is so bad for our posture! Chin poked out and shoulders rolled forward will really give your neck some grief.



For every 15 degrees that our head comes forward (from upright), there are roughly 15lbs of pressure exerted on the cervical spine (your neck). So, at 45o of forward pitch, which is roughly where your head is when looking down at your handheld device, you have the equivalent of a 4-year-old child sitting on top of your head. Most of us do this for over 1,000 hours a year!


This can lead to a complex of problems known as Upper Crossed Syndrome:

The muscles of the upper back become over-active and strained, while the chest muscles become shortened and tight which eventually leads to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and postural disorders.



View from the Back While Working on Laptop
That’s more like it! With the chin tucked in it allows those shoulders to come back and makes us sit nice and tall.




The fix:

The best position for sitting at your desk is movement! Standing work stations are great but don’t try standing all day. The magic to diminishing the ill effects your desk is to keep changing your position:

Sit for a while and try to be mindful of your posture, as soon as you notice yourself slouching, move to a standing position,



Close-up on footstool
If your chair is really making things uncomfortable for you in your workplace try a small footstool or books! This brings the knees higher to put less strain on your back and overall posture.



If you take a phone call, walk around while you are talking.


Go back to sitting for a while, then return to standing with one foot elevated on a couple of books (be nicer than that to your books and use a low box).



Rolled Up Towels to Support Back
If your chair is not well equipped try rolling up a couple of towels and placing them in the arch of your low back. This will help you sit taller, for longer, throughout your stressful day!



Getting regular massage therapy is an important part of self-care when it comes to helping keep your neck and shoulders healthy. The hands on release of Trigger Points (Knots) in your neck and shoulders, enables those muscles to move through their intended Ranges of Motion, have better circulation, and allow your body to feel relaxed while maintaining good posture.


Our muscles instinctively move away from pain and discomfort, so if a muscle is tight, sore, and ‘talking’ (or screaming) at you, your body will try to move into a position that avoids discomfort. Massage therapy removes the discomfort and allows your muscles to maintain great posture without struggling.



Sitting While Working on Laptop
When sitting all day seems to bother everything, and brings out those poor postures, try and work in a standing position! This will help you get out of those bad positions and continue to work.



In my practice, I provide manual therapy to release tight and overexerted muscles. I also activate muscles that have been weakened by underuse and I teach my patients simple and effective exercises that can be done in the office or at home to help offset the postural problems which are associated with sitting for long periods of time.


The end of the year is approaching and if your extended health care benefits expire at the end of December, don’t wait until the last minute to book a Massage Therapy Treatment.

Jim Marinow is a Registered Massage Therapist, Fascial Stretch Therapist, and Tui Na Practitioner

Jim Marinow,
Registered Massage Therapist, RMT
Fascial Stretch Therapist, FST2
Tui Na Practitioner



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