How much time you sit in a day? Sitting in front of your computer, sitting in a car, sitting while watching TV, and sitting on a dining table are some of the examples. Yes, it is a lot of sitting time in a day. From now on, you need to learn how to avoid muscular imbalances by sitting properly and taking ‘microbreaks’.
One of the easiest microbreaks is by standing up, reaching overhead with both arms, while pretending that you are climbing a ladder with your hands. Do this for 30 seconds every 30 minutes of sitting.
Most people who are sitting in front of computer, especially those with improper screen height, tend to have forward head posture (FHP) along with kyphosis. Both are typical spinal problems for those with extensive sitting time. Normal spinal curves are needed during sitting. People with FHP are more likely to suffer neck and shoulder pain as the shoulder muscle activity is altered. If not assessed and corrected properly, people with this habit are more prone to shoulder impingement syndromes, scapula-thoracic, and cervico-scapular injuries.
Sustained stress can be experienced through the repetitive load on the tissue during improper driving position. Prolonged poor position in the car seat can eventually cause damage.
Many mistakes are done while driving. One of which is driving with one hand on the steering wheel. Driving with only the left hand will elevate the left shoulder, which can tighten the left trapezius and levator scapulae.
You will also elevate or protract your shoulder if you don’t hold the steering wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock position. The thoracic spine, scapula and gleno-humeral joint can remain neutral if you position your hands properly.
Sometimes people driving with the right hand will lean the torso to the right in order to rest the arm on the centre console. This prolonged sitting habit can lead to poor circulation of oxygen to the tissue, which can further cause inhibition.
Microbreaks while driving can be done by squeezing the shoulder blades together for 20-30 seconds. After that, you can let it go and repeat for 2 or 3 times. Other driving microbreaks include cervical range of motion as well as shoulder retraction with elevation and depression. If you have electric seat, you can frequently change your position (every 30 minutes).
And these are the tips on how to sit properly while driving:
- Sit with a tall spine against the seatback
- Adjust the back rest so that it can fit your comfort level
- Adjust the seat pan length
- Draw in your belly button lightly towards your spine
- Adjust your hips to make them level and square
- Firmly put your left foot on the floor and dead pedal
- Roll the scapula back and down or back and up to set them (based on the neutral scapula position of the client)
- Push the back of your head to the headrest to maintain a level chin
- Put your arms on the 9 and 3 o’clock position or lower
- Lift the sterna notch