Postural Pain associated with work or play

Musculoskeletal pain associated with sustained or repeated work postures is very common these days, but work may not be the only source of symptoms. Today with the multiple electronic devices we are never far away from a screen/keyboard, with many of these devices not allowing for “good”postural positioning.  

There are a number of contributing factors to pain associated with our posture including; 

  • our body is made to move and in fact it craves movement.  There are emerging scientific findings identifying the importance of movement on our overall body health.  There appears to be a link between sitting and increased incidence of type 2 diabetes and reduced life expectancy, among other conditions
  • poor ergonomic set up – this will place excessive mechanical stress/loads on muscles/joints/tendons/discs/neural structures.  If this excessive stress continues to be applied over a period of time then one or all of these structures will begin to fail, resulting in pain!
  • sustained sitting causes compressive loads to the spine.  This has a long term cascading effect on our spinal health (see the page regarding low back pain and sitting for further detail)
  • using muscles in a way they were not designed to be used eg. using a mouse in the right hand for prolonged periods.  This requires holding the right arm out to the side of the body in a sustained position and with quite specific control. 
    The muscles being used for this task are designed to make big powerful movements and are in fact full of fast twitch muscle fibres (designed for power and ballistic movement).  They are not designed to maintain a sustained/static position under low grade load.  Performing this task repeatedly results in a gradual ‘tightening’ of the shoulder musculature as it fatigues from inappropriate use. 
  • This also results in increased loading of the cervical spine musculature, the neural structures in your neck and  a cascade of altered load down the arm, which can overload the tendons, nerves and joints of the elbow, wrist and fingers.  Below are some examples of referred pain from the overload of shoulder and cervical spine musculature.
  • whether it be that your work requires you to drive a lot, or simply that you drive to and from work, your position in the car seat must be optimal.