Sitting at a Desk or Keyboard

Remaining in a static (motionless) position such as when sitting at a computer creates an increase in muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. That is why so many people come home after a long day at work (at their computer) and feel stiff and achy. The muscles go into spasm and never relax fully, even after we go home to rest from the activity.

In this type of activity there is not always a repetitive motion that creates injury, rather there is a constant muscle contraction that creates the damage. When a muscle contracts it squeezes blood out of the muscle, so that it does not get any oxygen.

In normal exercise to a muscle, such as weight lifting, we will work the muscle for 30 seconds or so, and then relax it and let it rest. During the rest phase the muscle relaxes and fresh blood flow comes in, nourishing the oxygen deprived muscle.

However, when sitting at a desk or computer all day long the muscles are in constant state of contraction with no rest. No rest means that the blood is constantly being squeezed out of the muscle while it works. When a muscle works constantly without adequate blood supply, what will happen to it?

The muscle will begin to break down and become inflamed. This inflammation then leads to the release of sticky fibrin and ultimately adhesion sets into the muscle. The adhesion further worsens the chronic tightness of the muscle, and prevents the muscle from being able to get adequate blood supply. As the body tries to heal by laying down adhesion, it ends up making the situation worse, leading to a downward spiral of injury cumulating upon injury. This is called the "repetitive strain" or "cumulative trauma" cycle.