Ergonomics

Why can work be a pain in the neck?!

From my observations neck pain in the work place is often due to:

Poor Posture
  • Most office workers I treat are self-confessed “chin-pokers” (my term) where they sit forward on their chairs in various degrees of a “slumped” posture and poke their chins forward.
  • This seems to happen when people are either focusing intently on a task and or are trying to sit up very straight as they have been recommended to do.
  • Unfortunately in these situations the constant downward pressure of gravity will over a matter of time force the body into a slump posture. The alternative is the person who becomes very rigid in their spine in an effort to maintain the erect position.
  • There are also the people who slouch back in their chairs and end up being so far away from their keyboards that they have to stretch their arms a long way forward.
  • Both these postures and other variations such as sitting on feet will put excessive loads on the structures of the neck if held for any length of time.
  • The first posture will cause compression, the second will cause stretching of the soft tissues and joints including the nerves.
  • Both will lead to muscle imbalances around the neck and shoulder girdle

 

What can you do about it?
  1. Check your work station and posture.
  2. Recline your backrest 5 to 10 degrees and sit back with the lumbar support in the correct position.
  3. This way the muscles of your spine can relax in the neutral position and be held there both by your chair and by gravity.
  4. The use of a footstool will help to prevent you inadvertently shifting forward.
  5. Sit in close to the desk with your elbows just above the height of your desk.
  6. Your screen should be at an arms length distance and the top of the screen level with your eyes.
  7. Use a headset if you use a phone frequently. Again, this will ease the load on your neck and shoulders.
  8. The aim is to be sitting back relaxed and supported – a little like being in Gold Class at the movies.