Whether you have long suffered from back and neck pain or the experience has arisen since you’ve been stuck at home as a result of the coronavirus, you are not alone. The quarantine has robbed us of our ergonomically correct office spaces as well as access to our favored exercise routines and therapies such as massage, physical therapy, and access to spine physicians. The result has been an increase in aches and pains of all kinds, but particularly in the neck, shoulder and back.
Even as things begin to reopen it is unlikely that we will be returning to normal any time soon. Gyms are restricting access, many workplaces have indicated that they will continue the work-from-home regimen, and appointments with physicians are only slowly coming back online. This makes it important for patients to be able to relieve their own discomfort through exercise, and some of the best take the form of corrective exercises known as CARs, or Controlled Articular Rotations.
Speaking of the benefit of CARs, Matt Pippin, CSCS and Mobility Expert explained that “more aches and pains are happening because we are walking less and our usual body treatments like massage, chiropractic adjustments, stretch practitioners, trainers, yoga class, Pilates, etc. have either been completely eliminated or have been severely compromised. We are also not using our chairs properly and above all, stress levels are currently through the roof.” The advantage of controlled articular rotations it that they improve range of motion, particularly in the hips, shoulders and spine. Doing them on a regular exercise can reduce inflammation by improving blood flow and delivery of nutrients to the bursa and joint capsules that are being stiffened by lack of movement.
One of the most important things to remember when pursuing relief through CARs is the necessity to perform them regularly. This is particularly challenging in the face of also having to do your normal work and, for some of us, also having to home school children. The best way to make sure that you don’t forget is to set a reminder to do them using your phone or computer’s alarm.
The exercises should start with doing a loop around your house in order to create a break between your work and your exercise. It is best if you can do this for at least five minutes to create a true separation. Exercises represent small movements such as rolling your shoulders backwards and then forwards, using your index finger to push your chin in (which helps you to straighten your cervical spine), and elevating your sternum by contracting your muscles around your mid back. Yoga stretches such as downward dog or high altar arms can also provide relief.
Other tips to help prevent stiffness have to do with your work habits and changing them up. Try any or all of these:
- Switch your workstation on a daily basis. Move from the kitchen table to a desk to a couch, and even to the floor with comfy pillows.
- Make sure that you’re remembering to breathe as you work. Make a conscious commitment to taking at least one deep, cleansing breath every ten minutes.
- Keep a massage ball at your desk and roll your feet over it at least once a day for ten minutes.
- Get up and move around at least once an hour.
- Remember to drink plenty of water.
For more help, contact us.