Are you an office worker, student or gamer who has neck and low back pain at the end of the day?
In this 2 part series, I will be talking about causes of postural neck and low back pain and what you can do to minimise it.
Hey, I’m Emily and today I will be focusing on neck and shoulder pain. If you sit for long periods of time a day in front of a computer, continue listening to find out the causes of your symptoms and simple ways to treat it.
Postural related neck pain is a very common issue physios treat these days, with the use of computers and tablets are on the rise. If you have neck pain whilst using a computer, you will notice that your head goes nearer to the computer and your neck will fall into extension as time goes by. That’s because muscles in the neck fatigue and will fall into a position which requires the least muscle strength.
You will also notice your shoulders becoming sore after a while. That’s because the longer you concentrate on something while sitting at a desk, your neck tenses and your shoulders rise up to your ears. Holding your shoulders in an elevated position will cause the upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles to fatigue.
If that sounds like you, keep reading to learn several easy modifications to your workplace and work habits that will reduce neck pain.
- Use a desktop screen with adjustable height where possible instead of a laptop.
- Adjust the height of the desktop so that your eye level is at the mid ⅓ of the screen.
- If you use 2 desktops, place the one you use most right in front of you and the other to the side.
- If you use both equally, place them at an angle like an open book so that you can see both at once.
- Adjust your chair height so that your elbows rest on the table at 90 degrees.
- Ensure that your keyboard is close to your body, to prevent overreaching.
- If you have any paper documents or tablets, it is best to prop them up on a tablet or book stand.
- If your chair has a head rest, use it to reduce muscle load of your neck. If the head rest is too far back, you can prop it up with a folded towel or pillow.
Even if you have the best set up for your workplace, you will still get neck and shoulder aches if you sit for too long. It’s best to move around every hour and perform the following exercises and stretches. (Watch our video to see demonstrations of these exercises)
- Neck rotations – turn your neck from side to side, 10 times
- Shoulder shrugs – shrug your shoulders clockwise and anticlockwise, 5 times each way
- Upper traps stretch – bring your chin down to your chest, using the opposite hand, pull your head downwards, following the line of your elbow.
Physiotherapists can help with neck and shoulder pain by releasing tight muscles and providing you with specific exercises to strengthen and improve endurance of your neck and shoulder blade muscles.
If you currently have neck and shoulder pain and you sit for long periods of the day at a desk, book in an appointment with a physiotherapist at Miami or Lakelands Physiotherapy for a thorough assessment and we can identify the causes of your neck and shoulder pain, and help treat it.