The back, shoulders and neck can become so tight and compressed from staring
at a computer screen that after a long day the only things many people want to do to relieve the pain is to drink or lie down.
The mechanical/neurological issues are that when the head juts forward to peer more closely at a screen tremendous downward pressure is exerted on the spine causing it to slowly collapse forward. The shoulders are then not on top of the torso anymore. Instead, they are also falling forward and add weight to the crush of the spine. The shoulders become tense. Soon, the shoulders, upper back and or the neck is in pain. If this pattern becomes entrenched serious health issues may arise.
How can we sit at a desk without pain?
Usually we are collapsed forward. Then we think “I should sit up straight.,” and that involves tightening our lower backs and sometimes trying to squeeze the shoulder blades together. That lasts for a minute until we feel pain from arching the lower back so we collapse forward to relieve the pain. And the cycle repeats itself again and again.
Modern chairs are designed so that the back of the seat is lower than the front of the seat. This forces our hips to roll back creating a collapsed “C” shaped posture. We have grown up sitting in chairs such as these. This “C” posture becomes habitual over time. Most of us are not even conscious of this.
What can we do?
Most of us think we have to strengthen our core muscles and throw our shoulders back in order to get that lovely posture. What if it really begins by changing how we think about posture?
Look around at little children. Most have beautiful aligned posture. They don’t work on core strength. They just haven’t learned how to interfere with their natural posture like we as adults have.
Great aligned posture is really about letting go of excess tensions. That great posture is still there and you can have it.
Next Time Part 2
Relearning how to sit