Neck pain, it’s a common enough ailment these days, particularly among those who spend their day in an office and/or in front of a computer. The primary reason for this stems from the sedentary nature of office work. Prolonged periods of sitting can make it difficult to maintain proper posture which in turn can cause pain and discomfort.
At one point or another, nearly all of us have been guilty of becoming so engrossed in our work that we forget to move or switch positions leaving us with aches, stiffness, and even headaches. That’s why today we wanted to explore with you the 6 primary ways to reduce neck pain at work.
#1. Take a Stand
Sitting in an office chair may seem like a simple task, but the reality is that sitting can be fatiguing. The longer you sit still, the harder it becomes to maintain good posture. One popular option to combat this is to use a standing desk. But, they aren’t practical for everyone. So if you must work in a seated position be sure to get up every half hour or so to move around. An easy way to add this to your routine is to set a silent alarm on your smartphone for 30-minute intervals. It may not be possible to get up every single time, but it can be a good reminder that you’ve been sitting for a while.
#2. Stretch it Out
One of the things that causes the most tension in the neck and shoulders is stress and work stress can be a pain in the neck. It can even lead to tension headaches. But, not all stress is bad. The important thing is to find positive ways to deal with the stress like stretching. Taking time during the work day to stretch your muscles will help work out the kinks and relieve stress at the same time.
#3. Adjust Your Angles
A common ailment dubbed “tech neck” occurs when the neck is subjected to the repetitive motion of looking down at a smartphone or maintaining a forward head position for long periods while using a mobile device. But your computer monitor can have a similar effect over time if it isn’t positioned correctly.
Having the correct angles at your workstation is the key to relieving neck pain and reducing the risk of tech neck. Start by adjusting your monitor height so that it is positioned directly in front of you with the center of the screen level with your nose. When you sit with your monitor it will lead to a tendency to angle your head downward increasing the strain on your neck. Next, position the keyboard close enough to your body to work with your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees when typing. You want your keyboard to sit high enough so you don’t have to slump your shoulders to reach the keys. Place the mouse at the same level as the keyboard. If you work primarily on a laptop, use a secondary monitor if possible to obtain an optimal position while working.
#4. Sit Pretty
When it comes to hours spent in front of the computer, the wrong chair can be your worst enemy. The most important thing when selecting or positioning your chair is height. Some desk chairs stop in the mid to upper back area, and this is a recipe for slouching all day. Ideally, the back of your chair should come up to the neck or head height, so you feel comfortable leaning back. You should be able to rest your head on it comfortably while sitting up straight, to help avoid the temptation to hunch.
#5. Perfect Your Posture
When seated at your desk, your feet should be flat on the floor and your back should be flush against the chair. Keep your head in a neutral position with your ears directly above your shoulders. To help avoid rounding your lower back, adjust your chair’s height to allow your thighs to angle down slightly. This position keeps your weight ideally distributed through your ischial tuberosity otherwise known as your “sit bones,” located on the lower portions of your hips.
#6. Put Down the Small Screen
Earlier we discussed “tech neck.” We all tend to bend our heads forward further when looking at phones and tablets, especially when using a touchscreen to text or email. Holding your head in a forward posture while looking down at your device for prolonged periods can cause painful muscle strains in the short term and may contribute to disc or joint injuries in the long term. Whenever possible, be mindful of answering emails using a desktop or laptop rather than a phone, as this offers the best chance for good posture.
Putting It All Together
Neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions reported after prolonged sessions of working at a computer. It is usually caused by a combination of poor posture, lack of movement, desk setup, monitor height, seating, and stress. The key to reducing neck pain is determining which factors are related to your symptoms.
If you’re suffering from neck pain, whether it is related to working in front of a computer, an injury, or an illness, one of the major contributing factors could be an upper cervical misalignment. At Atlas Specific we specialize in non-invasive, gentle, drug-free treatment to help you find lasting relief from neck pain.
To see what a difference upper cervical care can make in your overall wellness, give us a call today at 970.259.6803, visit our Durango office at 1800 E 3rd Ave #108, or click the link below to schedule a free consultation.
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We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.