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 offers comprehensive spine expertise
Summit Orthopedics’ Spine Care program is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
Spine related resources
- Explore Summit’s Spine Exercise Library
- Check out Summit’s QUICKGuide on Ergonomics
- Learn Workplace Tricks To Ease Arthritic Joints
- Get the Lowdown On Acetaminophen And Ibuprofen
- Watch the video: Knowing When to Seek Treatment for Spine Pain
More resources for you
Eagan Surgery Center has been recognized as a Blue Distinction Center + (BDC+) for high-value, excellent-quality spine surgery. Vadnais Heights Surgery Center has received the Blue Distinction Center + (BDC+) honor for hip and knee replacement.
We asked Summit spine specialist Catherine Choi, M.D., to share her best tips for keeping your back and neck pain-free when working from home.
Meet the Expert: Doctor Bio Video Series