Working at a Desk can be a Real Pain in the Back.
As a person who sits at a desk all day, I can tell you first hand that it can really be a pain. In my back, neck, and even shoulders. It can also be a bit rough on your overall health too. Is there anything we can do to help our spines when more and more people are working desk jobs?
But let’s learn a bit more about what a desk job can really do to your spine.
The Dangers of Desk Work
According to today’s studies, sitting more than 11 hours a day, which is very possible when you combine a desk job, a commute, and wanting to relax, can increase your risk of premature death by 40% as compared to people who sit for under four hours a day. Other studies have found that sitting for a long time can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. So, essentially the longer you sit without getting enough exercise leads to a shorter lifespan.
It can also have a negative impact on your spine. Poor sitting posture exacerbated by a person’s body weight can lead to the buildup of extra pressure on areas of your spine, which can cause misalignment. What’s worse is that you can actually become fatigued all over and hunch even further at your desk. All of this together can result in aches and pain in your back, in addition to circulatory issues across your whole body.
Current Study Highlights:
- According to the U.S. News & World Report, 86% of Americans are stuck sitting at their desks for work.
- Medical research has indicated the dangers of sitting all day, and the scientific community has termed it “sitting disease” for those affected by prolonged sitting.
- Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine has explained the negative effects of succumbing to a sedentary lifestyle and how the “sitting disease” affects your spine including potential misalignment, pain, and chronic health issues.
To help with this, it can be hugely beneficial to take breaks from your desk and try to be a bit more active and to stretch. There are several stretches and small exercises that you can perform at your desk as well.
Wake up your legs by standing up and down from your chair without using your hands for support. Try to perform 10-12 reps every hour or two to assist with increasing blood flow and circulation.
Shrug your shoulders up and down and do head circles to release tension in your upper back and neck. For moderate to severe back pain, you can repeat this up to ten times.
Flex your calves and thighs independently as well. Do this about 10-12 times every hour or two to release tension and strengthen those muscle groups.
If your office, even your home office, has stairs you can walk up and down, try to make it a point to do this about 5 minutes in the morning and afternoon. This helps increase circulation and pump more oxygen to your brain, which can help you be more efficient and productive.
How Massage Can Help
Massage is an increasingly popular treatment option for those with back and neck pain. Studies indicate that massage can be very beneficial for spine pain and after ongoing treatment can provide long-term effects. Taking full advantage of massage means being an engaged and active participant. Check out the following tips to see more about how you can make the most of your massage.
Match Your Treatment Location to What You’re Looking to Accomplish
When you’re thinking about which program to choose on your massage chair’s menu, definitely be mindful of the results you’re trying to achieve. If you’re looking to do real work on your spine and back, a relaxing massage or a Swedish massage might not be the best one for those results. However, if you’re just starting out or need to relax after a long day it can be perfect.
So, an important first step is to ask yourself what you want to get out of the massage. That will provide insight into which one you should choose for your session.
While most chairs can provide you with a program that can help with your “office spine” and help your back in general, there may be some that are more to your liking overall. If you prefer a deeper tissue massage, you’ll want to look into chairs such a the D.Core line, the MAJ7 from Panasonic, and the Positive Posture Brio Sport.
If you don’t like something that intense, you can find several more options that can provide a more gentle massage including the Osaki First Class, the Ohco M.8, which is known for being incredibly relaxing, and the Positive Posture Sol, which is a small, compact chair that can help you to wind down. Though you can be sure that every massage chair has been designed to provide a deep massage experience. There are just some that are more intense than others.
A favorite for spine heath that is a newer arrival to our site and comes highly recommended is the Infinity Genesis Max. The 4D massage mimics deep tissue massage of human hands, and it offers spinal correction and a decompression stretch.
Our advice is to match your type of chair to what you want to get out of your massage session, and whenever you need help, we’re always here for you.
Be engaged in your experience as well, especially when you’re comparing programs based on how well they target specific pain or trouble spots. Notice what’s happening, and take note of how it makes you feel. Did you feel better after one massage session than another? Record that. Also, look into the purpose of the programs you’re trying and reach out to us or check out our articles about the massage chair features to learn more about them.
How Long Will It Take to See an Improvement?
This can be a very commonly asked question when you’re looking for something like pain relief. Unfortunately, there is no universal time frame that everyone will feel the results of massage therapy, and for some, it can take far longer or shorter to eliminate pain. Massage works your muscles and depending on your specific pain situation, it can take quite a few regular sessions to retrain those muscle groups into healthy designs that are better able to deal with the daily wear and tear we put them through.
Think of it like this. You’re looking to overcome potentially decades of poor posture, office spine, and back pain. A single 30-minute massage session won’t be able to undo that. Think about how much time your pain and muscle imbalance has had to accumulate. It’s like with losing weight, you can’t expect to take off pounds any faster than you put them on.
Once the muscular work starts to show results for longer periods of time, you can go for longer periods between sessions.
Be patient. Set realistic expectations that are reasonable for your life, schedule, and health. And remember to supplement your time in the chair with other acts of self-care and bodily maintenance. These will all work together to provide you with the best possible results.
Is There a Proper Time to Get a Massage?
While there isn’t truly a “wrong” time to get a massage, you may want to consider your mood going in. Are you going to be stressing about what you need to get done right away afterward? Did you just get off a terrible phone call or are you still reeling from a stressful day? Well, in those cases you may want to decompress for a few minutes before you hop in the chair. A massage on tense muscles may not feel as good and if you can relax yourself a little before going in, you might be better able to connect with what is happening in your body instead of worrying about the future.
Plus, a lot of the joy of getting in your massage chair and finding relief can be elevated by making an entire ritual of it. Clear the schedule, light some candles, pour yourself a drink, and read a book for a few minutes. Then, hop in your chair and experience it like the treat it really can be.
Step It Up With Zero Gravity
When the space race was in full-wing in the 1960s, both the Americans and Russians were running into notable problems trying to assist their astronauts with coping with the powerful effects of G forces. We’re just not designed to handle such intense gravity, and researchers soon realized that traditional techniques wouldn’t work in such intense circumstances. The solution came in the form of a reclining position for astronauts that allowed them to lay back and has since come to be known as the zero gravity position.
What are the benefits of this zero gravity position on your spine and how can it benefit you in the form of a massage chair. It turns out there are a lot of positive results from sitting in a massage chair designed to keep you in a zero-gravity position during each of your sessions.
Raise Your Legs If You Please
Massage chairs that market themselves as zero gravity will include this incredible feature in their product and give you the ability to raise your legs so that they are actually positioned above your heart. If you’ve ever sat in a similar chair you’ll probably agree that it’s a very relaxing position and can alleviate some stress from a hectic day and cut down on back pain.
Decompress Your Spine
Most of all, the incredible thing about zero gravity massage chairs is that they eliminate the pressure on your spine caused by gravity pushing down on you all day long. Over time as the weight of gravity presses down on your body and you hunch more and more because of your desk job and backaches, your spine will actually shift into a C-shape. The natural position for the body is much closer to an S, and that is frequently why people experience a great deal of back pain. The zero gravity position helps your spine get back into that S-shape, which, as you’ve probably guessed, helps to eliminate back pain. Plus, because there is a pressure buildup between your discs from gravity and other stressors, the Zero-G position is also helpful because it helps the spine to decompress and alleviates that pressure.
Happy Spine, Happy Lungs
When you eliminate this pressure on your spine and allow it to resume a more natural position it also gives your lungs more room to expand. With that extra room available, your lungs you’ll actually be able to breathe deeper and take in that much-needed oxygen. As a result, you get more oxygen into your blood, which can aid in muscle and nerve repair.
Boost Your Circulation
Another benefit of relieving that pressure is the increase in circulation. Your blood can flow easier to and from the heart when you’re in a neutral position. It’s not fighting .to get back to the heart nearly as hard because gravity isn’t pulling it down. This works in tandem with the deeper breathing to provide your body with more oxygen quicker. When you’re in zero-gravity your body just doesn’t have to work as hard.
Lessen the Stress on Your Heart
The Zero-G position also helps your heart in general, because it’s not fighting against gravity to get your blood circulated. When you’re standing for eight or more hours a day your heart has to work hard to pump blood to areas that need it to against the force of gravity. With zero-gravity, it’s working a lot more efficiently and with less effort. And easing things for your heart a bit can help to improve your cardiovascular health.
It’s Great for Your Legs
Additionally, with your legs raised above your heart, you’ll actually see a dramatic reduction in swelling, particularly around your ankles as you continue to use the position over time. Again, this is because your heart is working more efficiently and there is less overall stress on your system. This can be especially helpful for those dealing with lower extremity swelling like those with circulation issues or diabetes.
Massage & Zero Gravity Works
While these treatments aren’t the answer to everything, a massage chair that allows you to sit back and realx in a zero-gravity position can do wonders for your body and help you overcome “office spine.” It lessens the daily stress on your spine, vertebrae, lungs, and heart. It can leave you feeling a lot less stressed and feeling incredible pain relief. With your heart pumping much more efficiently, your aches and pains will decrease over time and your body will be better able to repair itself.
If you’re seriously considering purchasing a massage chair to help you deal with the effects of working at a desk all day long, you should give strong consideration to one that allows you to recline in zero-gravity, and we have several on the site that can meet your needs.
Finished With Your Research?
You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the physical benefits each of the styles offered and what to be prepared for from them. These different types of options can truly help you to work to combat office spine and improve your health when you’re forced to sit at a desk all day.
If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!