Physical therapy can help alleviate numerous body aches and pains, including the ones caused by a desk job.
The average person spends 13 hours a day sitting. In fact, some experts say that sitting has become a new deadly habit and is known as the new smoking.
The good news is, you don’t have to worry too much. Physical therapy can help with most desk-related complaints. It can also help prevent your symptoms from getting worse.
If you notice that the aches have become more persistent, then it might be time for you to consider physical therapy.
In this article, I’m going to talk to you about the most common desk-related pains and how physical therapy can help you manage or even treat them.
Relieving Aches and Pains
Humans were not made to sit for extended periods of time. But who can blame those who are chained to their desks, right?
That said, this is still within your control and you have the power to relieve aches and pains caused by it.
Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to relieve you of this discomfort brought by long periods of sitting.
Luckily, there are plenty of treatments available to you. These treatments will vary depending on your pain and how bad it is.
Physical therapists may customize the best program for you. A customized program would be very efficient to relieve aches and pains brought on by muscular or joint stiffness.
Common Desk Job Pains
For the first part of this article, I’ll share with you the common pains that you get from your desk job.
I understand that most of us have to be seated in front of our computers for hours, due to our jobs, it has become unavoidable.
Knowing the most common desk job pains will help you understand what’s happening to your body and how you can address it through physical therapy.
Lower Back Pain
As I mentioned in the first part of this post, the most common reason why you experience pains is prolonged sitting.
When you sit for too long, you may experience lower back pain. In fact, it’s the most common of the many desk job aches and pains that can affect a person.
Why does this happen?
When you sit for too long, you succumb to slouching and slumping. It can cause spine misalignment.
When the spine isn’t properly aligned, it will cause strain on ligaments and muscles in your back. That registers as pain, so the worse the misalignment gets, the more uncomfortable you become.
Lower back pain can keep you from performing at work. It can even affect the overall quality of your life in the worst cases.
If your lower back pain has become persistent, then it’s time to consult a doctor.
Why not a physical therapist immediately? Well, that’s because there are actually other things that can cause back pain, and they have other treatments.
You need to see your doctor first so he can give you a thorough exam for diagnosis. Your doctor should rule out other potential medical conditions before you are referred to physical therapy.
Wrist & Elbow Strains
Typing on the keyboard, writing, and the like can cause injuries to your wrist and elbows.
When you’re typing, you’re usually hunched forward for a long period of time. When this happens, it restricts proper blood flow.
Eventually, this causes tightness in your extremities. This leads to numbness and tingling in the arms, and possibly even pain.
Most of the time, the position of your keyboard is to blame. Overuse is also another common reason why you’re experiencing this pain.
However, another factor may be your poor posture. Hunched forward is the most specific posture. This restricts proper blood flow to your hands.
The strain on the wrist and elbow is typically acquired due to repetitive motion. The repetitive motion causes fatigue that leads to inflammation of the tendons.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
One of the main causes of this can also be improper keyboard positioning. It could be because the keyboard is placed too far away on your desk.
When the keyboard is set too far on your desk, it’ll cause you to reach it with your neck and shoulders forward. This throws your spine out of alignment. Eventually, it causes muscle and soft tissue strain.
Imagine being in this position every day. Yes, that can really cause persistent neck and shoulder pain.
Muscles found at the front of your hips are called flexors. When seated for a long time, flexors got shorten.
Tight hips can also contribute to soreness in your lower back.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy is one of the best non-surgical treatments to treat desk job aches and pains. It can also prevent or minimize the recurrences of these pains.
This is also why there continues to be a high demand for physical therapists today.
Here are some ways physical therapy can help alleviate these symptoms.
Stretching and Strengthening
Physical therapy can help strengthen your muscles. For back pains, abdominal strengthening is often the best treatment.
Abdominal strengthening may help reduce pressure on your back. Physical therapists may also use machines or other accessories to facilitate this process.
As for stretching, it can offer a lot of health benefits such as these:
- Better blood flow,
- Increased energy levels,
- Release of endorphins, and
- Decreased risk of injury.
There are various stretching techniques that physical therapists do. Some of the most common ones are ballistic, static, and dynamic.
Based on the level of pain that you experience as well as your doctor’s recommendations, physical therapy’s stretching and strengthening will go a long way.
Aside from physical therapists focusing on stretches and strengthening, they’ll also help educate you on proper ergonomics.
Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in working environments. It is based on a person’s workplace, capabilities, physical requirements, and limitations.
Ergonomics helps an individual lower risk factors that may lead to injury. It’ll also help improve productivity.
Ergonomics is important to physical therapy. Without proper ergonomics, patients are most likely to keep coming back with the same condition.
Exercises for Neuromuscular Re-education
Exercises for neuromuscular re-education can help improve balance, posture, and coordination. It is part of a therapeutic technique by physical therapists.
More than 90% of soft tissue injuries encountered by chiropractors can benefit from neuromuscular reeducation exercises.
Through this, physical therapy can help restore natural and energy-efficient movement patterns. It can also help optimize joint biomechanics and reduce pain from neuromuscular deficiencies.
Physical therapists who provide this type of treatment will assess you based on a number of factors.
The exercises provide various functional strengthening, balancing, stretching, and coordination activities.
This type of physical therapy treatment can be a huge help. It can also help you manage your symptoms better.
In a Nutshell: Physical Therapy for Desk Job Aches and Pains
Now, you’re aware of the various aches and pains that you can get from your desk job.
Desk jobs may be unavoidable for most of us. Luckily, you can try physical therapy to relieve yourself of the pains such jobs may bring on.
I’ve discussed with you the most common aches and pains that you may encounter. The first and arguably most common of these is lower back pain, which often arises from prolonged slumping or slouching.
Wrist and elbow pain tend to be very common among people with desk jobs too. That’s because most of them have badly positioned keyboards or computer peripherals. Extended periods of typing may also cause these pains.
Finally, the neck, shoulder pain, and hip pain occur due to sitting in the same position for a long duration.
We also talked about how physical therapy can help with pains like the ones I mentioned.
There are various ways physical therapy can help through different treatments. Physical therapists may focus on stretching and strengthening exercises, for example.
They can also help educate you on the right ergonomics. There’s also neuromuscular re-education, which is one of the most highly-recommended treatments by professionals.
If you are suffering from desk job aches yourself, book an appointment with our physical therapy professionals at AccuDoc. We have a physical therapist that can diagnose, and create a custom plan to help you and your individual needs. You can also leave a comment below if you have any questions about how physical therapy can help with desk job aches and pains.