Specialized in Pelvic Physical Therapy/Pelvic floor therapy, primarily using JFB MFR
Therapy in the Forest, LLC
Practicing John F. Barnes Myofascial Release (JFB MFR) in Portland, Oregon
Working at home. Pandemic help
Many people have been working at home for a while now. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden shift to working at home without much thought to how best to work at home from the perspective of keeping your body well. Many of you are sitting at dining tables and other surfaces not designed for computer use. This is OK for a while but not for this long. My 27 year old daughter has done this and over the past few months I have literally seen her upper trapezius muscle grow bigger and tighter. These are the muscles from the back of the neck to the shoulders. The reason for this hypertrophy (too much growth of a muscle) is that she was elevating her shoulders in order to use her laptop on her dining table. Remember keyboard trays? Well, they were thought of for a good reason: when we work for hours per day with our arms elevated, the muscles from the neck to the shoulders grow strong and thick. That starts to compress the neck and the consequences of that are compression of joints and nerves (and really all tissues in the neck). That results in symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling in the arms. So now that you are all still not back in the office where you hopefully have a healthier set-up, it is time to learn what you can do to mitigate all this. I am an expert in these things. From reversing the compression using manual treatment sessions to educating in how to use a better set-up, do exercises and self-treatment to undo the daily load of tightening and posture awareness.
See if you can improve your work set-up on your own: how much are you having to elevate your shoulder girdle? What can you do about it? Are you having to look over in one direction? That is a huge no, no! It will start to make the body asymmetrical and that becomes hard to return back to normal. Make sure you sit straight in front of your screen! Frequently turn to the left and the right. Use the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away to something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. While you are at it, you might as well move. Your body was designed to move! Stretch your arms overhead, bend to the left and the right, twist left and right, anything!
Your head weight must fall into your torso. If it falls in front, you are (over) working only the muscles in the back of the neck and you are working to get a hump where your neck meets your torso. Compression builds every day you stay like that. What chair are you sitting in anyway? You may need a small pillow somewhere in your back to help you sit up.
Your body wants variety of movement! Find different ways to do the same thing!
And every day you should make up for all that sitting: walk 30 minutes. Do a stretching program such as Lee Holden's Qigong for upper back and neck pain. https://www.holdenqigong.com/product/qi-gong-for-the-upper-back-and-neck/
I do this myself when I get wrist pain from working.
If that does not do it, come see me for some myofascial release and personalized education. Jeannette Zyderveld, PT 971-985-8158