From osteo ldn

HOW TO PREVENT NECK PAIN WHILE SITTING AT A DESK

In a day and age where Covid-19 is such a prominent factor in our daily lives, it's becoming common for more and more people to find themselves spending the better part of the day sitting at a desk.

Whether you're working from home or virtual learning, many people find themselves in front of a computer for prolonged periods.
Not only is this sedentary behaviour detrimental to your overall health, but it also puts you at an increased risk of neck and back pain.

Neck pain is a common condition. So common that nearly 75% of people experience it at some point during their lives.

It can feel crippling and greatly diminish your quality of life. And, at the very least, it's likely to reduce the quality of your work.

To truly understand the causes of neck pain, it is vital to first understand the role of the muscles in the head and neck.

THE ROLE OF MUSCLES IN HEAD AND NECK POSTURE

The levator scapula muscle is the most commonly implicated muscle in neck pain.
It sounds like a fancy word, but the levator scapula muscle's primary function is to keep your shoulder in a position to support the vertical alignment of your head and neck.
It's what's "keeping your head on your shoulders" as they say.

Because your shoulder blade is an exceptionally movable bone, keeping it steady and in an appropriately straight position for proper neck posture can be very difficult. The levator scapula muscles can become overstretched.

This can not only cause muscle weakness but also contribute to chronic muscle tension and pain.
Thus, the pain you feel after completing that extra-long report, or suffering through another Zoom meeting (that could've been an email!)

COMMON CAUSES OF NECK PAIN WHILE WORKING
AND HOW TO PREVENT IT

After sitting at your desk all day in the same position, you are often left feeling stiff, sore, and just downright miserable.

When sitting for a prolonged time, it's normal for you to slouch and assume an unnatural body position. This can potentially cause more pain and discomfort.

Fortunately, there can be an easy fix. By looking closely at your workspace and the factors surrounding it, you can find the cause (and solution) of your pain-causing problems.

The key to reducing neck pain is to determine what is triggering your symptoms. The most common causes of neck pain while sitting are all related to four primary triggers:

Posture

● Environment

● The chair you use

● Stress

POSTURE

While working at a computer, maintaining proper posture can be crucial when trying to reduce neck pain.

Sitting for an extended period can cause significant postural strain in your shoulders, neck, and back, almost always resulting in discomfort.

While sitting in the same position, these muscles can become tired and painful. This forces the surrounding muscles to help compensate them. Before you know it, all the muscles in your neck and shoulders are flaring up in pain.
This can also be caused by looking down in an unnatural position at a laptop or smartphone.

There are many ways to resolve neck pain related to posture. For starters, you must try repositioning yourself every 20-30 minutes.

This can be as simple as standing up to stretch or going for a short walk around the room.

Try to limit prolonged smartphone usage. Looking down at a phone or screen can cause you to arrange yourself in an unnatural position and this can cause your spinal column to work harder to support your neck, resulting in more pain.

For optimal postural position, you should be sitting with your back flat against your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Your head should also be in a neutral position with your ears directly above your shoulders.
Sitting in this stance helps to keep your weight evenly distributed, reducing neck and back pain.

ENVIRONMENT

Your office or work environment can directly affect your neck pain if it isn't adjusted correctly. Your desk and monitor need to be set up in a way that creates the least possible strain.

The height of your desk plays a crucial role in your body positioning. If, for example, your desk is positioned too high, you will have to compensate by shrugging your shoulders upward so that you can reach your work environment.

This results in tired neck muscles.

If your desk is positioned too low, you'll have to flex your trunk muscles to use your workspace. This results in a hyperextended neck position.

To help reduce environmental causes of neck and back pain, you will need to create an optimised ergonomic workspace. One where you feel naturally comfortable with no pains or strains.

Your desk should be set up so that you can easily reach everything you need while your arms stay at your sides and your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.

It's also important for your computer monitor to be directly in front of you and the top of the screen height slightly below your eye level.

These are all ways to promote a neutral spine position, resulting in a decreased chance of neck pain. These are all slight adjustments. However, that slight shoulder shrug may be imperceptible to you, but over time creates pain that you clearly notice.
CHAIR

With all the makeshift offices happening at home right now, chair choice might be limited. However, a low quality or unsupportive chair is a common factor in neck pain as well.

Many people are being forced to make their "at-home office" in a less than ideal space such as the couch or dining room table; that wooden dining room chair is not optimal for an 8-hour workday.

Choosing an ergonomic chair with the best support can significantly reduce neck pain while sitting.

Well designed, quality office chairs encourage a neutral position and often have adjustable height options. The adjustable height helps tremendously to give you the correct body position in relation to your desk and monitor height.

Also, make sure your chair offers adequate lumbar support. If you don't have a chair with lumbar support, consider purchasing a product like a lumbar support pillow or place a rolled-up towel behind your back in the interim.

STRESS

Persistent stress also plays a significant role in neck pain while sitting. Stress builds tension on your neck muscles, causing them to feel tight and achy.

When we experience stress, our shoulders can also elevate. It's another one of those things that you don't even notice you're doing. This position puts an extra strain on the muscles, causing them to work harder.

This can result in fatigue and swelling, amplifying the discomfort you are feeling.

While it may be difficult to completely eliminate your life's daily stressors, reducing stress can have a positive impact on neck and back pain, giving you a better quality of life.

Focusing on ways to not only treat your body, but your mind can help decrease the toll that stress can cause on your mental health.

There are many methods to treat stress-related neck pain including therapy, support groups, massage, meditation, stretching and exercise.
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EXERCISES TO HELP NECK PAIN

There are a variety of exercises that can aid in reducing the severity of your neck pain.
Physiotherapy's primary focus is to return your body to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible by stretching, increasing range of motion, correcting posture, and building strength.

Strengthening the muscles in your back, neck, shoulders, and torso is crucial when treating neck pain. It is also essential to limit the stress put on them from working at a computer and sitting for hours on end.

While some of these exercises can sound complicated and difficult to perform, implementing them into your daily routine can ease tight neck muscles and reduce injury.

NECK STRETCH

This is an excellent exercise to start with because it can be done while sitting or standing, giving you the ability to perform this quick fix without leaving your work station...

To do this exercise, begin by looking straight ahead. Next, you'll need to look down at the floor for 5 seconds, feeling a stretch in the back of your neck. Followed by looking straight up to the ceiling for 5 seconds, feeling a stretch at the front.

Next, return to neutral then tilt your head to the right, almost as if you are trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Hold this position about 5 seconds long. Once you do this on the right side, you will need to relax your neck and repeat this process on the left side.

You should do this exercise 3-4 times daily to decrease neck pain. This exercise takes less than a minute and can create a noticeable difference in your pain level by the end of your workday.

CHIN TUCK

The chin tuck is another excellent exercise to do when dealing with neck pain.

This exercise is done by sitting straight up with your shoulders flush against the back of your chair.

Next, you will pull your chin down toward your neck and hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat these steps 10 times.

STRETCH WITH CHIN RAISE

This exercise is done by lifting your chin up instead of down and turning your head slightly toward the right. You should lift your chin, but your shoulders should remain in a neutral position. Be sure to hold this position for 20 seconds.

Next, turn your neck slowly toward the left, positioning your chin up as you look toward the ceiling, and hold this position for 20 seconds. You should do this exercise 3 times on each side.

THORACIC SPINE MOBILISATION

This exercise is performed in the standing position. While standing, lift your elbows out to your sides.

Next, rest your hands on the back of your head and pull your back ever so slightly while stretching your spine.

During this exercise, your eyes should be looking straight ahead.

Sometimes it helps to choose a point of focus in front of you. For the best results, the thoracic spine stretch should be done for 10 seconds, up to 5 times a day.

CONCLUSION

We know that it can be difficult to change old habits.

We also know that your neck and back pain is having a detrimental effect on your quality of life, or you wouldn't be scouring the internet for solutions.

There are many theories about exactly how to prevent neck pain while sitting at a desk for too long during your workday.

Improving posture, redesigning your workspace, choosing an ergonomic chair, and reducing stress are all great ways to help decrease the risk of neck pain.

It is imperative to remember that your workspace should accommodate you, not the other way around.

Physio and Osteo are great tools to use when treating neck pain. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today to book your session and don't forget to download our FREE ebook on improving poor posture.
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