I have seen two clients this month with two very different sports injuries, which made me think of the same question……is it really a sports injury?
Case Study 1:
The first was a 19 year old lady who had had recently started the increasingly popular “cross fit”, SHE was having problems in her lower back and was really struggling with the high impact activities like squats, burpees and star jumps.
At first, she thought it was just to do with starting the new activity but realised after 3 months it was something more than just that.
Case Study 2:
The second was a 45 year old man who has been active all his life but is now starting to struggle lifting weights and whilst swimming with pains in his shoulders and sometimes even getting feelings of pins and needles into his fingers after a long gym or swimming session.
He put this down to getting older and the natural problems we all, or are going to face but wanted to maintain this active life into his later years as it’s a release from his stressful job.
Both of these clients had high tension in the muscles surrounding the areas they were feeling discomfort but both had the same thing in common…..
It wasn’t sport that was causing this tension….it was WORK!!
….their day to day job was in fact causing this tension.
This means that when they go to their gyms or swimming pools after work their muscles had tightened during the day so that these muscles couldn’t work in the way they were meant to.
When this happens something has to give and it’s usually the weakest point in that area!
Both clients were office workers and were putting their bodies under pressure by having a poor posture at work….the female was slouching and putting all of her weight onto her right hip whilst the male was typing at a computer all day with slouched shoulders.
Think of a coil that’s constantly stretched with a weight on the end and then when you take the weight off……it won’t go back to its original length.
This is what happens to your muscles if your putting pressure on them all day. Especially in a job that lasts 8-10 hours a day! Over the course of your working day your potentially putting your body under more stress than a 30-40 minute workout ever will.
What position should I be in at work?
All it takes is a few simple changes…..
When sitting make sure your upright…..remember those 50’s movies where the kids got wrong in classrooms for not being straight! And try a small pillow in the bottom of your back to add extra support.
Adjust the chair or desk so the computer monitor is at a height that’s level with your eyes so you don’t have to look up or down…..how many times do you finish working on a computer with a stiff neck?
Make sure everything on your desk is within reaching distance and that your feet are comfortable, with bent knees and both feet flat on the floor not tucked under your chair or with your legs stretched out. And avoid crossing your legs.
When I was in South Korea I was talking to a parent of one of my pupils who said that in his engineering factory a buzzer goes off at 5 minutes to the hour every hour and everyone stops working and they do stretches and exercises till a buzzer sounds again and then they go back to work.
I laughed at this on instinct but he explained that all workers, either manual or office are given 5 minutes every hour to exercise.
After thinking about it, this is brilliant and should be done by everyone, everywhere in the world!
Even if its a walk for a coffee or a stretch, not only does it help refocus the mind but also loosens off those overworked muscles allowing you to feel better not only at work but when your in the gym, swimming pool or on the road at the end of the day.
Moral of the Story:
Having a long, active and healthy life isn’t just about those 30-40 minute exercise sessions but what you do for 70-80% of your day.
Article written by Kevan Spanton,
Paul Gough Physio Rooms
Specialist Physio Clinics : Darlington | Durham | Guisborough | Hartlepool
Tel: 01429 866771