Don’t “T. Rex” At Your Desk
Preventing poor posture is always better than treating the medical conditions that can be triggered by poor posture over time. The path to prevention may be easier than you think. We have one quick tip that can instantly help you develop impeccable posture while you work at your computer.
Many of us spend our days in front of a computer. We all know how easy it is to relax into a slouch. But today’s slouch can become tomorrow’s medical condition. We explain why slouching over the keyboard can lead to physical trouble in the future, and preventing poor posture at work starts with a simple trick.
What does it mean to “T. Rex” at your desk?
We all do it. We sit at our desks, working away, and gradually, we extend our head forward with our elbows held against our ribs, clicking furiously at our keyboard. This is what is call the “T. rex” position—or T. rexing. Over time, we will start to pay for the strain of holding our head in this position. We may feel pain traveling down our arm into our shoulder blade. That pain should not come as a surprise.
Strain on your neck
What we don’t realize is that our head weighs as much as 15 pounds—approximately the weight of a bowling ball. Imagine taking a big heavy bowling ball in your hand, and holding it out in front of you at arm’s length. Could you do it? You’ve got a lot of weight on a lever, and it’s a strain to hold that much weight in that position.
Our neck holds our head—13 to 15 pounds—over our shoulders so efficiently that we don’t notice the weight. However, if we continue to push our head forward and increase the strain on our neck, we will gradually grow a little hump on our back and our vertebrae will get larger to help hold the weight of our head. Over time, that mass is going to get larger. Sooner or later, unless we correct our posture, we won’t be able to pull our head back into its proper position anymore. The deformity will be permanent.
Preventing poor posture at work
Luckily, this condition is preventable. There’s a simple exercise we can do right in our office chair—or anywhere—to avoid the development of a humped back. If we simply lift our sternum, and tuck our chin in, we put our head back into proper position.
One Summit physical therapist often asks patients if they remember Lady Diana. Those who do remember her know she was a beautiful lady with beautiful posture. She had such a wonderfully regal chest-up, chin-in posture. He suggests patients look up a picture of Diana and keep it in their mind’s eye at work. The next time you catching yourself T. rexing at your desk, remind yourself: chest up, chin in. That conscious adjustment alone will reduce upper track tension headaches and neck pain—and will help you to maintain an erect regal posture as you age. It’s a simple adjustment: chest up, chin in. Give it a try. This tiny conscious adjustment can make a world of difference to your neck and back over time.
Summit Orthopedics is home to Minneapolis/St. Paul’s top spine specialists for neck and back pain treatment. If you are experiencing pain that is not going away after a couple weeks, the spine team at Summit Orthopedics will work with you to determine a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan to address your problems.
More resources for you
Meet the Expert: Doctor Bio Video Series
Dr. Mundrati’s advice to help patients manage back pain—and keep it from recurring.
Dr. Choi helps chronic pain sufferers understand the link between stress and back pain.