By Madhur Kohli
Last month, a 22-year-old girl complained to me of pain in her wrist. The first thing I asked her was, “How long do you use the computer for?” And then, “How long do you use the phone?” It turned out that out of 24 hours in a day, if she wasn’t sleeping, she was either on the phone or on the laptop for most of the time.
Now, the problem she was facing was pain in her wrist, but that was not the cause of the problem. The origin was in the shoulder blades, which were completely tight due to bad posture. It’s a full kinetic chain that is connected – from wrist, elbow, shoulder blade and shoulder joint, to the middle and lower back.
Over a period of time, due to misalignment in the body, the pain had reached the wrist, which was one of the weaker parts in the chain.
When I started working with her as a rehabilitation therapist, I actually didn’t touch her wrist at all. I helped her correct her posture, did therapeutic stretching for her and manually rectified the alignment in her middle back. That’s how we fixed her pain.
Misalignment is a very common problem these days among all age groups. Even nursery children aren’t sitting straight – everyone has their necks bent down and their shoulders hunched forward over phones or gadgets.
Millennials particularly, whether they are executives or sportspersons, are plagued with repetitive stress injuries such as tennis elbow, cervical spondylosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, sciatica, and pain between the shoulder blades.
All this can easily be fixed with awareness as it is mostly due to bad posture, incorrect alignment, and overuse. But by the time people come to me, they are in deep pain already. I correct it through therapeutic stretching by first figuring out what is causing the pain, releasing the fascia of the tight muscle, increasing its mobility and then doing assisted stretching up to a certain period of time leading the joint to a better range of motion.
Once their posture is corrected, people start feeling taller, sitting straighter and breathing better as the lung capacity increases.
So what are the warning signs? Any form of stiffness in the body. If your body is stiff when you wake up in the morning – or stand up after sitting a long time – that means something is wrong. You need to get figure it out and not just work on the pain point but on your entire body.
You may have ergonomic chairs at your office but how often are you conscious of your posture? Whenever you are free, rotate your neck, move your arms up and down, rotate your ankles and wrists, stretch your shoulders, and stand up while talking on the phone to get your blood circulation going. At other times, take the stairs, not the elevator, and just stand and do calf stretches.
You don’t need to time out of your schedule for maintaining good body alignment; it can be done within working hours!
Madhur Kohli is a certified fitness consultant, rehab trainer and functional movement specialist based in Delhi. She conducts workshops in corporate houses and schools across NCR.
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