Postural Syndrome refers to individuals in prolonged postured for a long period of time that can result in musculoskeletal impairments including tendons, muscles, and joints. This can be a result of increased sitting during the workday. It becomes imperative to develop a prevention program and find strategies to manage potential symptoms.
1. Workstation ergonomics
The first step is to have someone take a picture of you sitting in your own workstation. This will allow a qualified healthcare professional to appropriately evaluate your workstation, and make individualized modifications. The 3 main components of any workstation are the 1) monitor, 2) keyboard, and 3) chair. Ensuring that each component best meets the person’s needs will hopefully create an optimal work environment with a minimized risk of injury.
2. Postural exercises
There are a few recommended exercises can are beneficial and can easily be done anywhere you are:
Scapular retractions – Gently bring shoulder blades together and hold for approximately 5 seconds. This can be performed in standing as well.
Scapular depressions – This exercise is like scapular retractions. Place hands on seat of chair next to your hips, gently bring shoulder blades together, gently push hands into the seat, and hold for approximately 5 seconds. Pretended that you are aiming to put your shoulder blades in your ‘back pockets’. This can be perform in standing. Facing away from your desk, place hands on top of desk, and perform the same exercise as previously mentioned.
Resistance Band Rows – Resistance band rows are a great way to add resistance to your training program. Using a resistance band can be helpful to improve strength and endurance.
Thoracic extension – Siting in your desk chair, place your hands behind your neck with your elbows forward. Next, gently bring back elbows, and aim sternum up towards the ceiling.
Back extensions – In standing, place hands on hips, looking forward, gently extend backwards.
Glute Isometrics – In standing, tighten buttock muscles and hold for approximately 5 seconds.
Calf stretches – In standing, place hands against wall with arms extended. Place one foot forward and on foot backwards in a lunge stance. Next, with back of heel on the ground, gently bring forward knee towards the wall until a gentle stretch is felt. This can be held for 30-60 seconds. This stretch can also be performed sitting in a chair or on the ground with a yoga mat. The individual can use a stretch strap to achieve the same therapeutic effect.
3. Standing and Walking Breaks
Prolonged sitting or standing for a long period of time can potentially lead to discomfort and pain. Taking multiple standing and walking breaks during the day will help reduce the risk of developing any problems.
Before engaging in a self-management program, be sure to consult with a medical professional.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT