After returning home from a long day of work, do you feel your body complaining?
Our body has a unique way of protesting against mistreatment—little aches and pains, that can exacerbate into a huge issue, if not looked into immediately. These aches and pains are not age-related. In fact, many people in their 20s cannot remember when their neck and shoulder did not ache from sitting at their computer desk jobs all day long.
The most common types of postural pain are:
1. Neck, shoulder and upper back pain
2. Wrist pain, and a tingling sensation in the wrist, or a numb feeling in the hand, fingers and wrist.
These pains are caused due to Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI, a work-related musculoskeletal disorder, that can affect muscles, tendons, joints and nerves, and is caused by incorrect posture, and poor fitness levels.
According to the NHS, UK, RSI is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition affects the upper body in the forearms, wrists and hands, and neck and shoulders.
The symptoms of RSI can range from mild to severe and include:
· Aching pain, and tenderness
· Throbbing pain
· Muscular stiffness
· Tingling or numbness
· General body weakness
· Muscle cramps
Do you crane your neck to stare at the computer monitor, hunching your shoulders and slouching in your chair during your 8-hour work day? Well, the above-described pain is a direct result of it.
Here’s what you can do to prevent this pain from occurring in the first place, according to Kamal Singh, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, in the Hindustan Times.
· Keep your computer screen at eye level, so that you stare directly at it, and do not have to look up or down.
· Keep your wrists straight and don’t let them drop.
· Don’t shrug your shoulders while sitting.
· Ensure the chair supports the elbows.
While postural changes can prevent RSI, according to Ms Kanchan Naikawadi, Director Indus Health Plus And Preventive Healthcare Specialist, in Hans India, here’s what you should do in addition to correcting your posture, to keep pain at bay.
· If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, use a headset, don’t cradle the phone between your head and neck.
· Take regular breaks, a walk every couple of hours, or just get up and stretch, so your eyes and hands get the much-needed break.
· Exercise and maintain a regime. Yoga and simple stretching routines can help counter muscle pain.
· Maintain a balanced and healthy diet, to ensure your body gets all the required nutrients.
· Maintain a proper sleep schedule and don’t cut down on sleep hours.
To counter RSI, some simple stretching exercises can also be performed. Speaking to the Economic Times, Dr Chitra Kataria, the Chief of Rehabilitation Services, Indian Spinal Injuries Center New Delhi, mentioned that stretching is a critical element that can improve flexibility and allow our joints to work their full range of motion. Stretching is very vital for injury prevention and is helpful to counter the inflexibility that our cubicle-bound lives have bestowed on us.
She says that stretching the muscles of the lower back, chest and shoulders can help keep the spine in better alignment, and improve our overall posture by relieving aches and pains. Stretching will also loosen tight muscles, and encourage the release of endorphins.
Dr Kataria describes two stretches that can be performed anywhere.
1) Back Stretch:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend knees slightly.
2. Lean forward, and place hands above the knees.
3. Round your back, so that the chest is closed, and shoulders are curved forward.
4. Then arch your back, so your chest opens and shoulders roll back.
5. Repeat this several times.
Static Cat Camel Stretch:
1. Lace fingers together, and turn palms outwards.
2. Push arms as far as you can, curving back and shoulders forward.
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Release fingers and grab wrists or fingers behind your back.
5. Raise your arms as high as you can behind your back, without releasing your hands, so your chest opens and shoulders roll back.
We hope this article motivates you to correct your posture, and reminds you to get up and stretch every once in a while, to keep RSI aches and pains at bay.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)