Dr Dan’s key facts
It’s a fact that one in two Americans has a musculoskeletal disorder. As a doctor who diagnoses and treats musculoskeletal disorders every day, it’s no surprise to me why we struggle to keep our muscles and joints healthy: we don’t move well, and we don’t move often. Most of us sit too long, with the average person sitting for nine to 10 hours a day. So in this guide, we will explore some physical health strategies to live a happier, more active, and healthier lifestyle. Then, why not make an easy to achieve new year’s resolution? Just look at my Top 10 Tips!
My Top 10
- Focus on breathing, it’s good to be alive. Go on, take a deep breath now. Every day practice deep breathing – do five sets of five seconds in, seven seconds out – at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening.
- Work on your mobility. While stretching can be helpful, doing specific movements designed to encourage mobility in stuck spots is now understood to be most effective at maintaining flexibility.
• In bed
- Have a bed that supports you properly – and not a hard or soft one, it must comfortably support your spine. Beds too soft can strain the lower back and hips, while beds too firm can bother necks and shoulders.
- Get a comfortable latex pillow, too, as feather or down ones just collapse. A properly supported neck and head is neither angled up or down, with the contour of the neck supported. The best sleeping position is on your back, and the worst is on your stomach.
• In the office
- Use a fully adjustable, supportive chair. Aim for 90 degree angles for your joints.
- Keep your computer at eye level. Laptops can be harmful when working long periods at a computer.
- Don’t reach for your mouse. This can harm the neck, shoulder, and elbow.
- Get up and move around every half hour. Sitting for longer than an hour isn’t good for your digestive system, cardiovascular system, or mental capacity.
• Carrying a load
- Use your legs and hips to lift a load – not your back.
- Use a backpack to carry stuff around, and use both straps. Ladies, backpacks are in style. See the KNOMO London 10” Mini Beauchamp if you’re looking for ideas.
The advanced office guide
My full guide for those who want to survive life in the office by doing all they can to protect their bodies:
- Get a fully adjustable, supportive chair.
- Ideally get an adjustable standing desk and alternate standing and sitting.
- Create 90 degree angles for hips, knees, ankles, and elbows when sitting
- Keep your shoulders down and back; effectively anchored to the center of your spine.
- Connect your hips and shoulders to your breath and core.
- Keep computer screens at eye level.
- Notice the tension you hold in your neck, and shoulders under stress.
- Recheck tension as many times as once every 10 mins, obviously depending on your stress levels.
- Sitting is the new smoking; get up and move around every 30 minutes.
- Use a backpack rather than a brief case, or hand bag for neck and shoulder ease.
- Sit with your hips below your knees
- Continually reach for the mouse
- Hold a phone with your shoulder
- Have the screen to one side
- Cross your legs
If your children work or otherwise spend time in front of a screen, encourage them to adopt the simple office drill in the top 10 tips and to carry their school backpacks properly
It may be boring for them but it’s a cheap investment in their futures, and I am seeing more children in the office with pain from phone and tablet usage!
So go on and move better this year
Moving well is an individual experience, unique to each person, but follows quite common guidelines. Moving well means your brain is moving your body without undue stress on joints and muscles. Movement is a common experience for a large majority. Like eating, sleeping, communicating and breathing, movement is common to life. It is possibly one of the most underestimated facts of life so make improving your movement one of your goals for 2018.
Dan Michael is a Doctor of Chiropractic at NW Sports Rehab in Madison Park. Contact him at (206) 328-5466 or visit http://www.nwsportsrehab.com/