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Doctor-approved stretches to combat WFH body pains

By Camille Santiago Published Oct 06, 2020 11:22 pm

We've been working from home for months already and yet, most of us still haven't mastered proper posture in front of the computer. We sit all day (sometimes comfortably), slumped on the sofa or bed, or hunched on the kitchen table. And what do we get? Bothersome muscle strain.

Dr. Tyler Bigenho, a licensed chiropractor from Newport Beach, California, cites posture as the biggest culprit to body pain and immobility as another. "It's inevitable," he told PhilSTAR L!fe. "Sitting in itself is horrible for you. Even a standing desk, if you're standing in the same spot for 8 hours in a day, you will have pain. It's just being stagnant leads to pain because gravity is pulling us down. And a lot of us, you know, we lean on one side, we're never actually just sitting in her chair up straight you know we're always like leaning forward or like leaning on the side or something like that."

PhilSTAR L!fe reached out to Dr. Bigenho to tell us how we can all make the most out of our WFH situation and maybe improve it. While a "quick fix" such as a massage chair or a back brace might be a tempting option, it still all boils down to proper posture and stretches that you can regularly practice throughout the day. Check them out below.

Do some upper back exercises.

We may not notice it (because we're probably used to doing it), but hours in front of the computer lead to slouching. In effect, it leads to muscle strain causing pain on the upper back, neck, and shoulders. While exercising this area won't help for the long term, Dr. Bigenho still suggests that we "stretch out the pecs and stretch out the front of your neck." "Essentially you want to do the exact opposite of what you're doing when you're sitting," he further explained.

Stretch your lower back area as well.

When your back isn't rested well on the back of the seat, chances are the lower back is flexed or curved. "Just do the exact opposite. Think about it how how often are we ever like this? We never do this. But it’s actually really really good for our necks," he said. Another exercise that he recommends is called the McKenzie Extension, which is similar to an upward dog in yoga. "Basically, you're laying on your stomach and you basically push yourself up so your lower back is like arching up."

Stop what you're doing and stretch your neck.

When we start to feel a strain in our neck, most people start rotating their necks. While it is a good exercise, Dr. Bigenho told us to "treat sitting as a workout." How? ove your chin back. "(Use) your muscles to hold your head up rather than just letting your head hang there... you'll see a lot more a lot more pain relief." Or since we're mostly at home, a better exercise would be rolling up a towel and just bringing your neck back. Again, just doing the exact opposite of your posture.

@drtylerbigenho

If it hurts when you hunch over at your desk or watching my toks, try the exact opposite ?? ##chiropractor ##deskjob ##posture ##ripkobe ##fyp

♬ Renee - Sales

Let your hands and wrists rest, too!

Our hands do most of the work—from typing to texting, doing chores and whatnot—that's why it isn't surprising when sometimes we feel sudden pain or swelling. To help manage pain, Dr. Bigenho says, "(Try) to massage out this area in the thumb. And then trying to stretch your forearms as much as you can. Just stuff like that." In addition to that, you can also try using stress balls to exercise your hand muscles, which he says are great. "Lacrosse balls and massage balls—those are those are cool, they’re are great, you know, they feel great. But I've just noticed that people get them and they don't use them. So I don't like to recommend things that I know is going to make me money but that person is probably not going to benefit from it."

To reduce stress, follow a routine.

They say we are all creatures of habit. Aristotle even said, "We are what we repeatedly do." And thus by doing something over and over again, we form habits and routines that help us feel complete. "If you give your body routine you will be so much better off throughout the day and in your life," said the medical TikToker. "And what I mean by this is you go to sleep at the same time every night, you wake up at the same time every morning. If you eat breakfast—sometimes people fast—but if you eat breakfast, eat breakfast foods at the same time everyday, eat lunch foods at the same time every day. Give your body some routine, and that doesn't mean eating leftover pizza in the morning! That means eating whatever you usually eat for breakfast at the same time every morning." Simply put, "your body loves routine".

And finally, always remember to drink water.

This final tip is already a given, but unfortunately, people still forget to hydrate. As we know, our bodies are made up of water, and every bodily function relies on it. And so, with healthy hydration, our body can perform on its peak. In an Instagram post, Dr. Bigenho shared a book that he likes, which is about the importance of water. "There's this guy who his theory is like anytime you're tired, anytime you're feeling sick, or you're feeling depressed or anxious, it's just your body telling you that you need more water. And I'm a huge advocate. Like if I ever start to get stressed out or I'm tired during the day, boom! I just chug like 2 glasses of water and I'm good! It's crazy!" He added, "If more people had that then I feel like a lot of more people would be happy with their lives."

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If you’re a patient of mine, you know how annoying I am about water intake. This #book is the reason I stress its importance. . If you feel tired, groggy, a little under the weather, nagging pain, etc, try chugging 2-3 glasses of #water . See what happens Below is taken from this book... put it into perspective! Remember.. ATLEAST half your body weight in ounces EVERY DAY. ‼️ . ?”Water is the basis of all life and that includes your body. Your muscles that move your body are 75% water; your blood that transport nutrients is 82% water; your lungs that provide your oxygen are 90% water; your brain that is the control center of your body is 76% water; even your bones are 25% water.”

A post shared by Dr. Tyler Bigenho, DC (@drtylerbigenho) on

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