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Sharon Potts Physical Therapist

Helping you move and feel better than ever

My Blog


Doing Nothing

Posted on July 19, 2021 at 6:05 PM

    I keep coming up against this response from clients.....Doing nothing.  It is not unusual to have a client come in for treatment after a weekend and report increased soreness. Seeking to find triggers for this increase in symptoms, I ask, "so what did you do yesterday?" Sometimes, " I helped a friend move" or "I played pickle ball"....but more often..."Nothing" is the response.

Hmmm.  "What does "nothing" look like?"-is my response.  

"Oh, well I was just...

watching TV on the couch...

or playing games on the phone....

or on a zoom calls....

or reading in bed..."

any combination of the above and more.

Then I say..."And what does THAT look like?" Then we get to it.  

Couches are hard to rest in well supported-most are too big. They just look comfy. Often the feet do not touch or we slouch back into the cushions. Time on a couch should be limited. 

Phone use typically involves leaning over to play games for extended periods of time. This loads the back and neck and places prolonged work on the muscles that support the spine.  Postures must be changed frequently and leaning over the device avoided.

Zoom calls are seated and often posture is adapted to the computer and and to get our best camera angle-not always the most sustainable posture. 

Reading in bed typically involves a flexed, semi-reclined posture that is compressive and so very hard on the neck and back.

No big trauma like a fall or a twist has occurred but trauma from prolonged, poor positioning.

These activities are all static.  When we doing nothing-the body is still working to maintain posture and promote functions like breathing, bloodflow, digestion to name just few.

Even with the best posture, it is important to change position every 20-30 minutes. This practice allows improved blood flow to areas of pressure, increased joint nutrition as the synovial fluid is encouraged by movement to shift around in the joints bathing the surfaces, and reduced muscle load by change of position.

In addition, since these "doing nothing" activities are relaxed activities, good alignment may be less of a priority.  Depending on the activity and on the body, an individual may get a pang of warning...nor not.  The strain and its response may not be noted until later.  

My best advice is to be aware and proactive.  Set up your "doing nothing" time for succes.

Seek to provide a place where you can achieve good alignment and support.  

Just as important-get up often-even as much as every 20-30 minutes.  

Categories: bodymechanics

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