What Hurts? How Your Desk Hurts Your Playing (2 of 4)

Walking funny is your body saying that something is not right. The previous article explored how pain can drift up the chain while you move. But your body sends messages when you are not moving, too. With part two of this series, take note of some of the feedback you get while sitting at work.

Do You Feel Old?

Your jittering legs don’t just mean you are restless. They are a cry for movement from your body. The first signal that something is not right is when you sit perfectly still while working. Remember that your body assumes your behavior is necessary for survival. It tries to adapt to whatever you do consistently. Ultimate requires that you run, stop, jump, and twist constantly. Your body attempts to adapt to ultimate’s movements. Your body also attempts to adapt to your desk job.

When your legs stop jittering, that’s an early adaptation. Here are others:

  • If your chair is too high, you settle on just the balls of your feet
  • If you lean into your seat back, your abs relax completely
  • If your hips are forward of your chest, your low back rounds
  • If your keyboard is low or far away, your shoulders roll forward
  • If your monitor is dim, you squint

Exaggerate each of those positions. Do you feel 100 years old? Your body thinks this is necessary to stay alive!

Your Flashing Check Engine Light

When you stand from your desk, your calves stretch and your abs activate so you stay upright. That quick shift in your muscles’ alignment creates tugging around your hips. Tightness in your low back is the result.

When you turn to grab something behind your chair, your shoulders back and sideways so your arm can reach farther. That alignment change disturbs muscles throughout your torso. Clicking in your shoulder joint is the result.

When you look up from your monitor, your neck may feel tired. Trying to balance your head directly above your shoulders requires upper back muscles to react constantly. You might notice tension in your jaw because of this.

Think of these little signals as your flashing check engine light. Your system is struggling to simultaneously adapt to the fast movements of ultimate and the fixed position of your workday.

Give It What It Wants

Posture certainly matters while working at your desk. Changing positions frequently is more important. Sit-to-stand desks are wonderful, if you actually stand and sit every half hour. The Pomodoro time management method suggests you will be more productive by taking a five minute break for every twenty-five minutes of focused work. Use that time to walk down the hall or stand up to stretch.

Your body adapts to ultimate. It also adapts to sitting. But fixed posture while working and dramatic movements while playing are not compatible adaptations. Pain is the result.

Do you understand how to minimize that pain?


Next week, we’ll explore pain you feel in the morning and what it means.

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