Did you know that the average American spends about 8-10 hours per day sitting in front of a screen? A recent study conducted by the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE) in conjunction with Ball State University’s Center for Media Design (CMD) uncovered this startling trend.
Using a surface electromyography (commonly known as EMG) muscle activity monitor may be a simple way to reduce neck and shoulder tension at the computer. You can monitor muscle activity and get alerts when it exceeds a certain level or threshold, that you set. You can also teach yourself to voluntarily let go of the tension in tight muscles by using EMG biofeedback that displays your muscle activity in real time.
Is Sitting Too Much Causing Us Pain?
Most of us know that sitting too many hours out of the day is not good for our health. It leads to decreased energy, potential health risks, and bad posture. Perhaps surprisingly, bad posture and shoulder tension at the computer account for a high percentage of shoulder and back pain in American adults.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure better posture and less stress on the body while sitting. You can adjust your seat height, sit up straight and push your keyboard back. For many people who, this may not be enough to reduce tension and pain in the neck and shoulders. New wireless EMG technology makes it more convenient to monitor muscle activity and tension in the shoulders while working at the computer, and learn to reduce that muscle activity before it causes discomfort or even pain.
Can I Use EMG Biofeedback While I Work?
A muscle activity monitor designed for personal or home use can be easily used while you work at the computer. You can place the device on various muscle junctures in the neck and shoulder area to track how much tension you carry in your muscles while you work.
How Can EMG Biofeedback Help Improve my Shoulder Tension?
Understanding how tense your muscles are when you work can lead to improvement. If you are hard at work on a big project and you turn on your muscle activity monitor you might see an increase in muscle tension. That would give you valuable information. Now you can adjust your posture and start to release the tension in your shoulders and neck, and the device will measure and display the reduction of muscle activity. It’s that simple. Understanding how tense you are under certain circumstances can help you make adjustments to avoid pain and tension.
According to Erik Peper and Katherine Hughes Gibney’s groundbreaking book Muscle Biofeedback at the Computer, we know that chronic neck and shoulder pain are, “the result of the interaction of several factors: forcing the body to adapt to the environment (inappropriate ergonomics), lack of skills in regeneration and somatic awareness, limited flexibility and strength, physical and emotional stress, thoracic breathing, poor posture, and even impaired vision or hearing.” They highlight the benefits of using muscle awareness to help minimize negative outcomes.
Using a Muscle Activity Monitor is a great way to understand your muscle tension while working at your computer. By understanding just how and when your muscles are tensing, you will better understand the source of neck and shoulder discomfort. Making subtle adjustments can help ease shoulder tension a great deal.
If you are concerned about your level of pain or stress, consult with your health care provider.