Running a small business rocks in so many ways, but it can also be a pain in the neck…and the back. Literally. Endless hours at the computer and nearly non-stop attention to your smartphone screen can put your body in a posture it’s not naturally designed to maintain for a prolonged amount of time. Eventually, that abuse leads to pain…which can thwart concentration, make us less productive, and make us cranky.
That’s not good for business.
Q&A about Posture and Productivity
Question: In your practice, what are the most common physical complaints you hear from professional people which are directly related to poor posture?
Dr. Lausch: The most common complaint related to poor posture is neck and upper back pain accompanied by headaches. This is due to the forward head posture that develops from computer overuse and phone overuse. For every inch that the head is forward of center, its like adding an extra 10-12 pounds of stress to the neck and upper back musculature and joints.
Question: What is the connection between those ailments and poor posture? Why does poor posture cause those problems?
Dr. Lausch: Poor posture is a synonym for bad biomechanics. So when the spine is out of alignment, it results in abnormal wear and tear on the body resulting in stress and pain.
Question: In addition to the physical symptoms, how does poor posture affect cognitive ability?
Dr. Lausch: This is a great question. Again, with bad biomechanics (a.k.a. poor posture), the result is abnormal stress. Ninety percent of the brain’s activity is spent making sure all of its parts are in the right place for optimal function. When the parts are NOT in the right position (poor posture), then the brain overworks trying to regain balance. This causes a drain on the brain!
Question: Do you see a correlation between the number of hours someone spends at a desk and their propensity to developing posture-related problems?
Dr. Lausch: Absolutely! We are designed to move. When we are sedentary and sitting behind a desk, we dramatically increase poor posture causing stress-related problems.
Question: What can people do on their own to improve and prevent the physical and cognitive effects of poor posture? What things should they keep top of mind so they can be more productive?
Dr. Lausch: Take breaks from sitting. Get up and move around even if it’s only 10-20 seconds at a time, but move frequently – at least 1-2 times during every hour of sitting. An effective exercise to combat forward head posture is squeeze the shoulder blades back and bend the head back-hold this squeeze for 3 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. This exercise should be done once for every 30 minutes of sitting.
Question: For people who seem unable to improve productivity-inhibiting posture on their own, What professional medical/alternative treatments are most effective?
Dr. Lausch: The best fix and or prevention of poor posture and the related problems is treatment from a structurally focused Doctor of Chiropractic. This would involve a biomechanical evaluation and a treatment plan that would include postural corrective exercises. In addition, a well-designed strength program is essential for optimal performance over the long haul. As we age, we lose strength and this contributes to bad posture. Offsetting strength decline dramatically increases overall health and well being.
Pain can be a serious problem for your small business if you’re not able to keep up physically and mentally with the challenges you meet every day. This is a topic near and dear to me because – with a notable degree of adult scoliosis – I’m always looking for ways to keep pain at bay and keep my productivity optimal. While working to improve your posture can’t cure all ills, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Make it a priority – and don’t let your business be a pain in the neck.
By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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