Working at home

The human body was meant to move. Walking, running, climbing, jumping, lifting, pushing, and pulling stimulate the body and mind. But in a world full of technology, and especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of our hobbies, events, schooling, and social gatherings have moved to a virtual setting. As a society, we just aren’t moving our bodies very much.

Many adults now work from home but may not have a proper work space. Slouching over a keyboard and looking down at a cell phone all day have created unnatural postures for many of us. These factors combined have created what we call “soft tissue stagnation.”

Stagnation in the connective tissue in key regions of the body can create or increase muscle and joint pain and stiffness. This pain and stiffness — coupled with less activity — can result in muscle physically wasting away (muscle atrophy). Lack of water and oxygen to tissue (due to lack of movement and compression) can cause that tissue to die. When your efficiency of movement becomes compromised, it can lead to mental, physical, and emotional issues.

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UPMC Sports Performance Can Help

Ron DeAngelo, MEd, CSCS, director of sports performance at UPMC Sports Medicine, says research shows that sitting is considered the new smoking because it can have a negative impact on your health. That’s why he is offering a soft tissue hygiene program to battle soft tissue stagnation at your work station. The program is focused on people of all ages and abilities to get them moving again.

Whether you’re a student, a working professional, or a retired older adult, this program is a quick and easy way to take a break from sitting and screen time and give your body what it needs to feel good.

What Is the Soft Tissue Hygiene Program?

Soft tissue hygiene can be used during the workday to help rehydrate tissue and improve the part of your sensory system that helps you take inventory of joints and tissue. The program teaches you to determine if each side of the body feels the same, and especially to notice if some tissues or joints are beginning to have pain and stiffness.

Sessions can last for as little as 15 minutes or up to an hour. It’s all about giving your body what it needs to feel loose and relaxed throughout the workday. Targeted sessions, offered through UPMC Sports Performance, are designed to help you:

  • Release tension in the neck and shoulders
  • Relieve pain/tightness in the back with breathing techniques
  • Expand and preserve hip motion
  • Stretch the wrists to help prevent conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Point and flex the feet to loosen and relax the ankles

See What Our Employees Think

A virtual soft tissue injury pilot program among UPMC employees yielded important feedback that will help improve the program and demonstrate its value. Here are a few comments from course participants:

“Easy to do exercises and a perfect mid-day get-active break.”

“It included simple exercises that anyone can do at their desk and makes you feel in-tune with your body.”

“This proved extremely beneficial as I sit at my computer all day and often have neck/shoulder stiffness. I now know more techniques to utilize. It felt great and was time well spent. Thank you!”

“He offered us simple exercises we can do in 10 minutes to feel better and gain greater range of motion.”

“These are things we don’t really think about that can adversely affect our daily well-being, so it’s great to hear about it from an expert.”

“Very valuable. Essential, even. Please keep ongoing.”

To learn more, or to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with Mr. DeAngelo, please visit our website or call 1-855-937-7678 and ask for Sports Performance.

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.