Last week I felt it again, an immense weariness in my shoulders and an inability to stretch without wincing in pain. I realized quickly enough that it was probably my workplace posture. I had faced this issue previously as well. One day, I woke up and had a terrible pain at the back of my head. My body was aching all over and I couldn’t even get out of bed. I took a sick leave that day and just took rest. By evening, I thought I was coming down with fever because the pain was so bad, and also because I couldn’t move my head properly. Finally, I went to see a doctor.
The first thing he asked me was, “Do you work on a laptop or desktop?”
The second thing he asked me was, “Do you work long hours?”
When I answered in the positive for both of the above, he went on to explain how it was our lifestyle which was killing us. Of course, I was aware that our lifestyle wasn’t ideal for us. But, it’s not like I had a choice. My work involves being on the laptop most of the time. The only way out was to manage, given the nature of work. Of course, I do exercise regularly, and try not to be glued to my laptop for long stretches. However, there are times when I forget and get too absorbed in work. When it happened last week again, I realized that I needed to take a step back again, and re-look at my habits. One of the things which wasn’t right was my posture – I tend to lean in too much towards my laptop.
Work may seem like the most important thing ever, but once again I was forced to remind myself that health comes before everything else. If my health isn’t good, how am I going to work? We’ve heard of stories of people who fell really ill because they didn’t take good care of themselves, and how they were forced to abstain from work and so on. We may listen to these stories and feel that this won’t happen to us, but often times we also don’t realize when we have crossed the limit and the line between work and leisure has blurred.
A bad posture can cause permanent damage to our backs and shoulders and trigger painful conditions. I’ve seen that doing a few of the things below can go a long way in helping us maintain a good posture and prevent painful conditions:
Stretching Doing stretches specifically targeted for the shoulders can help release some of the muscle tension and reduce stiffness. Exercises for the neck and head are also very helpful. My go-to resource for such exercises and stretches are YouTube. There are a large variety of videos on these topics. Even simple exercises like rotating your head and arms help increase blood flow to your head and shoulders.
Applying a hot compress If the shoulder pain gets worse, applying hot compress is also quite helpful. It helps loosen up the muscles. Taking a hot bath also does wonders.
Exercising Regular exercise is the best way to maintain your overall health. It helps boost blood circulation throughout the body. Doing yoga is also an effective way to make your body more agile and flexible and correct wrong postures.
Maintaining a good posture while working on the laptop A wrong posture while working on your laptop is often the root cause of all your shoulder-related pains. Ideally, when you work on your laptop, your seat should be positioned such that you don’t need to bend your head or body too much to see the laptop screen clearly. Adjust the height of your seat accordingly, so that you don’t need to continuously keep craning your neck downwards. Also, don’t keep bending forward towards your deck. Keep your back straight and try to maintain some distance from the screen of your laptop
Getting massages Getting massages helps in loosening your muscles and reducing tightness in your shoulders. Once in a while, take a break and go spend some time in a spa. It will not only reduce your pain, but also make you more relaxed. I recently took a massage “Shiatsu”, which was very effective in reducing my shoulder pains. Check that one out if you’re heading to the spa anytime soon.
Take care of your health and remember to get up and take breaks during your work hours. Remember, that work isn’t supposed to be making you ill!