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February 28, 2005

Desk Exercises

Exercises to Incorporate into my Daily Computer Routine

Exercise 1

1. Keep your eyes fixed on a spot straight ahead and do not allow that spot to move up and down throughout this exercise.
2. Place your index finger on your top lip. Draw your head away from it as far as you can so that the bottom of your neck is moving backwards on your shoulders. This will effectively pull your chin in.
3. Hold the position at the limit of movement for three seconds.
4. Repeat six times.
5. Do this every two hours.

Do not be surprised if initially you find this difficult to perform. If you have had a forward head posture for a long time and your headaches are fairly chronic you will be very stiff in this direction. Keep practising and movement will improve. Once you understand the manoeuvre you can dispense with the finger under the lip.

Exercise 3

A stretch of the muscles at the base of the skull can also be achieved without the use of a headrest, making this the exercise of choice in the office or for those working in a chair without a head support.

1. Clasp both hands behind the head just above the base of the skull. Find the base of the skull by placing thumbs on the bottom of the ear lobes, then running them under the skull, towards the spine, until the hands can be clasped. Keep the arms and hands still.
2. From this position, allow the chin to drop in a 'yes'. Maintain this position. Do not push the head back.
3. Lean back from the mid shoulder blade region, about ten degrees only. You will notice your chin tuck in some more, as if in a permanent position of 'yes' and you should feel a stretch at the base of the skull, where the neck joins the head.
4. Hold this position gently for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat six times.

Exercise 6

This exercise not only improves the stability of the shoulder blades, but it will also prevent the contraction of the muscles across the top of the shoulders which cause your shoulders to creep up around your ears at moments of stress. Chronic contraction of these muscles affects the neck joints and may, in turn, cause headache.

1. Sit up straight, with elbows free and bent at right angles. Gently tuck in the chin. Hold.
2. Take the points of the shoulder blades down to the floor and in to the spine. If you cannot get your shoulder blades to obey these instructions, think of pressing the elbows to the floor, while keeping the forearms parallel to the floor.
3. Once you feel a stretch occurring across the top of the shoulders, hold the position for ten seconds.
4. Repeat ten times. Perform regularly especially if you feel that telltale tightness starting. You may prevent the onset of a headache.

(Recommended by How Now)


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I found these helpful-thanks!

Posted by: ilona at March 1, 2005 10:35 PM

Great stretches! I'll add them to my repetoire.

Now the "office ergonomics specialist" in me has to come out...here are a couple of other tips to help prevent headaches...

-don't look at the computer for too long--get up from your chair at least every half hour and move around for a couple of minutes. Go get a drink of water. ;-)

-make sure your monitor is well positioned. The top of the monitor (not the screen) should be at eye level--lower if you wear bifocals. If you reach your arm straight out toward the monitor the front of the monitor should be somewhere between your wrist and your knuckles--approximately 18-24" from your eyes.

-keep "source documents"--if you use them--close to the monitor with a document holder. This helps to minimize head movement and refocusing of the eyes as you look back and forth between the document and the monitor.

-eliminate glare by positioning the monitor perpendicular to windows, and angle down slightly if overhead lights are the problem. Avoid "glare screens" as they often just darken the monitor, but are glossy so you get glare on them! If you must use a filter on your monitor (perhaps your monitor is too bright, or you need a privacy filter), 3M makes a good one, but it is PRICEY. Whatever brand you have, make sure to be meticulous about keeping the dust/finger prints cleaned off of it.

Posted by: Jenn at March 4, 2005 08:10 AM

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