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November 8, 2016

How to: Have a desk job and not ruin your back

Sitting is the new smoking they say – except you don't get paid to smoke.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Pictures: Julian Cebo

We’re all sitting in the CityMag office quietly stressing out.

We heard the story of a cardiologist who woke up one night and couldn’t feel or move his legs. It turned out that one of the discs that pad out his spine had ruptured – the cause: too much sedentary work and not enough exercise.


Core Physio and Pilates‘ CBD practice is at Level 3, 55 Gawler Place, Adelaide and there are 11 other Core locations across South Australia’s suburbs. The number to call is 8211 8855.

It’s one of those friend-of-a-friend stories you hope to never experience firsthand, but as we sit here typing up this story, it’s impossible not to start counting the hours we spend motionless (but for our fingers) staring at a screen.

The technical term for what lead to our mate’s injury is ‘prolonged occupational sitting,’ which was worsened by his non-existent core strength, and to be fair, could very well describe the working habits of many a magazine writer.

In 2003, a study found that Australians working full time sit for an average of 4.2 hours a day at work, and an additional 2.9 hours of sitting for leisure. In total, we sit for an average of 7.1 hours per day.

What this means for your health is anything from mildly annoying neck pain and fatigue, to much more concerning issues like circulatory problems and chronic disease (exploded discs come under the latter categories, we assume).

So we rang our friends at Core Physio for an emergency information kit on how to avoid waking up legless for any reason other than too many Negronis the night before.

A combined physiotherapy practice and Pilates studio, Core offer injury prevention and treatment programs, both of which are individualised to the client, meaning no matter what your situation is, they (literally) have your back.

Much of what Core Physio offers centers around Pilates-based exercise, an approach that’s been adopted by physiotherapists worldwide, specifically for the rehabilitation of patients with chronic spinal pathology.


Giancarlo shows us a simple core-strengthening exercise.

It’s important to take a break from work behind the desk every 30 minutes to stretch, however it’s more important to stretch your body in the right way.

Using specialised equipment, the physiotherapists at Core Physio teach safe movements that reform the body’s correct posture, facilitating the prevention and recurrence of injury, and many of the exercises taught at their Gawler Place Pilates studio are taught with the intention that they’re practiced in the workplace.

So next time you’re at your desk (which the aforementioned study suggests is right now), take a moment, consider our friend’s story, and if for nothing but the desire to not have your back exploded, maybe walk yourself down to Gawler Place and book a consultation.

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