Ross Short, of Kelowna’s Body-Wize Structural Integration.

When work is a pain in the neck: 3 simple steps to maintaining proper posture and alignment at your desk

Keep your body working at its best with proper alignment

Your body is a mechanical wonder – bones, muscles, tendons and more all working together to allow you to move easily.

But what happens when your previously smooth-operating machine seizes up?

Emotional or physical injury, chronic stress or unhealthy habits can all cause soft tissue shortening, leading to pain and stiffness. Kelowna’s Body-Wize Structural Integration works with clients to treat the whole body, eliminating or reducing pain for the long term instead of simply masking symptoms short-term, explains owner and practitioner Ross Short.

Using a multi-faceted approach balancing Hellerwork, Pilates, Whole Body Vibration and Reiki to address the soft tissue system wrapping muscles and organs, Ross works with clients to return the tissue to a more fluid state.

He also gives them the tools to support their body moving forward. “BodyWize is intended to empower you – strengthening you from the inside out,” says Ross, a former professional hockey player whose understanding of body mechanics has led to a 93 per cent success rate in helping clients find relief from pain.

  1. It begins with posture: Remembering what your mother told you, posture is indeed important. Ross points to a skeletal diagram, drawing an imaginary plumb line along a standing individual – from ear to shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and down to the ankle. “If you’re in alignment, all your systems will be working at their optimum,” Ross says. When one or more of those joints is out of alignment, however, problems emerge.
  2. Pull up a chair – properly: Answering your phone at your desk, maybe jotting down a note or two, the inclination can be to slouch forward, curving the back, shoulders and neck and compressing the vertebrae of the spine. Don’t, Ross says. Hinge forward from the hips, keeping the spine in neutral and maintaining that open alignment that allows you to breathe fully and expand the diaphragm – our deepest core muscle, which touches 62 joints through our core. Breathing fully and deeply keeps these joints moving.
  3. Toe the line on movement: Now pay a little attention to the feet, vital to the body’s mechanics and contributing to both balance and pain-free movement through ankles, knees and hips. Ross recommends taking time several times through the day to stretch, flex and wiggle your toes and move your ankles, the most weight-bearing joint on the body.

“Everything comes down to alignment,” notes Ross, who brings compassion and humour to his client relationships. “We work on patterns that have been established, addressing them at a neuro-muscular level to get you into a more ergonomically correct pattern.”

Remember, “If you have an issue, it’s in the tissue.”

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