"Sit up straight!"
Sound familiar? Readers and writers alike often suffer from back and neck pain. It's no wonder, though. When working with your hands in front (on a computer, holding an eReader or book, etc.), our shoulders roll forward.
We all do it as it feels comfortable...until we start to ache. When we sit in this position for too long, as many of us do, our muscles tend to freeze in this position. In particular, our chest muscles (Pectorals) in the front.
But, wait. Why would our chest muscles be involved when it is our back that hurts?
See, when we sit in this forward slouch position with our hands out front, we are elongating our back muscles and shortening our chest muscles, thus causing strain on the back. When muscles are left in a certain position for too long, they like to stay there. So, when Mom always said that if you didn't sit up straight, you were going to turn into a hunchback, she was right.
What do we do now? It's not like we are going to stop reading, right? Duh. I guess we'll have to live with hunched backs.
No way! There are things you can do to help combat the slouch.
1. Stretch daily--especially your pectorals.
I found this awesome short video to demonstrate a pectoral stretch ---> eHow: How to Stretch Your Pectorals
2. Move often. Try not to sit in the same position for too long. Again, muscles and joints need to be moved or else they will freeze up. Keep blood flowing. Make sure you are moving every muscle and joint you have every day.
3. If your shoulders are already rounded and stretching isn't helping, try getting a massage. A licensed therapist is sure to definitely help loosen those muscles up.
And that's it! All it takes are a couple basic and easy steps to avoid upper back and neck pain while you read or write.
Read responsibly. Sit up straight. And move your body.
Special thanks to Morgan for posing as our slouch demonstrator. He rocks!
Angela Carlie writes fiction about young people. She's the author of the Lords of Shifters series, Dream Smashers, and Land of Corn Chips. She lives in the
beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and son. She loves reading,
writing, hiking, kayaking, and traveling, and is a
vegetarian. By day she sits in a cubicle, by weekend she's a Licensed Massage Practitioner, and by night, she writes.
The above is the opinion of the author only. Please seek the advice of your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.