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