In the modern world, working at a computer at some point during the week (even if you aren’t in the standard “office” situation) is almost a given.
And, as many of you have probably felt, sitting at a desk isn’t exactly a comfortable experience. In fact, let an hour or so pass by, and you’re likely to be shifting in your seat and massaging your shoulders as they start to stiffen.
Now, multiply this experience into several times per week, for multiple hours per day, and it’s no wonder your body is giving you joint, back, neck, and even muscle pain: the seated desk position is one of the worst to stay in for long periods of time.
Luckily, we have something that can help ease pain caused from too much sitting at your computer, both in the short term and long term: mobility training.
Mobility training, even in just short bursts throughout your day, can help ease pain caused by too much sitting (and if you’re wondering if your pain is truly stemming from desk work, give mobility work a try for a couple weeks and see if you notice a difference).
Here we dive in to why working at a desk all day can be the root of joint and skeletal pain, and how mobility training can help.
Studies done on the negative health effects of sitting all day are pretty well known nowadays, and were part of the reason standing desks exploded on the scene.
Aside from increasing overall mortality, sitting for the majority of your day at a desk has specific dangers, including:
• Can increase depression and anxiety.
• Can increase risk of cancer.
• Can increase risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and heart trouble.
And, what we’re here to really discuss today:
• Can increase back and neck pain.
• Can weaken bones.
Studies have shown that just four hours of sitting can compress a key disc in your lower back that causes pain, while bad posture (which is typical when we’re sitting at a desk for a long period of time) can lead to intense disk problems in your neck. In fact, there’s even a term for this: “Tech Neck.”
Not to mention, desk work deprives our bones of the beneficial stress that standing provides. Believe it or not, our bones can start to soften if we don’t provide them with enough natural weight, which can lead to widespread pain and eventually, as we age, osteoporosis and other bone disorders.
Add in to this the reduced circulation factor, and we have a recipe for all types of pain: joint, disk, muscle, and even bone.
Benefits of Daily Mobility Work For Pain
So, are you doomed to one of the negative effects mentioned above, or continuous joint pain if you’re already suffering from it, just because you have a job working at a desk?
In short: not at all, if you bring some strategic mobility work into the equation!
In fact, adding in short bursts of mobility moves and stretching throughout your day has been shown to help lubricate and decompress your joints and spine, increase circulation, and ease stiffness, all of which can help reduce pain.
How often should these short bursts of movement occur? Research shows that moving every 30 minutes during your workday can significantly benefit your body and help counteract the negative side effects of sitting.
We also encourage getting into a routine of mobility work (even if it’s as little as 10-15 minutes) daily, as these exercises are key for maintaining proper alignment and posture, which can result in less pain even when you have to spend time sitting at a desk. When our disks are lubricated and our spinal column is properly stacked, there is less pressure on your joints as you sit. And, because your shoulders and neck are in their correct position, you’ll experience less stiffness and soreness in your shoulder and back muscles.
Overall, daily mobility work is one of the best-kept secrets for reducing all types of pain related to movement (or lack thereof!). This is the main reason we created the Daily Mobility Workout program on the DA App (and P.S.: you can 14 days FREE just for downloading):
The bottom line? Give mobility exercises a try, both during your workday and in the morning or evening for 10-15 minutes, and notice how your body responds.
Also, be sure to check out our Durable Professional Program for additional mobility work designed specifically for reducing pain due to desk work and excessive sitting (this is a great one for moves to do in-office and at your desk!):