How Do You Prevent Neck Pain At Work?
By: Eric Brocka, D.C.
Have you ever been sitting at your desk and realize your neck seems to always hurt? Maybe there is an occasional headache along with the neck pain too? I continually see this problem with numerous patients of mine that are working in an office setting. There is a distinct reason neck pain and a job at the office link together; once we find out why this is happening I will explain some easy tips to help prevent the pain from reoccurring.
Although jobs can vary, we have to pay attention to one thing – posture, it is the main reason our neck can become sore. Our technology nowadays makes our posture even worse, because we are constantly looking down at our cell phones and keyboards, rather than keeping our heads upright and looking straight ahead like our bodies are built to do. With this forward head posture, you may also be slumping over and rolling your shoulders forward which could add to the neck pain with the occasional addition of back pain.
This whole concept of walking with your head forward and down leads to upper cross syndrome. Upper cross syndrome is where you experience pain and lose your range of motion due to tight muscles on the back of your neck and your chest. Because these muscles are tight, your neck flexors and upper back muscles are stretched out and weak. However, there is hope; you don’t have to live with the strain on your neck each and every day. Here are a few tips that can help prevent the pain and the decreased motion you may be experiencing.
1. Avoid Looking Down
Constantly looking down is one of the bigger factors in producing neck pain. Try to read any documents or look at your phone at eye level so you are not stressing your muscles.
2. Center Your Computer Screen
Turning your head to see the computer screen will use your muscles unevenly and make your posture even worse. Try to keep the computer screen directly in front of where you are sitting and looking.
3. Chin Tucked In
If you sit with your chin tucked in and your ears directly above your shoulders, it will help keep your head from leaning forward. Stress and weight will be taken off of the muscles that were trying to pull your head back by themselves.
4. Pillow or Towel Behind Low Back
Use a pillow or a rolled up towel to support your lower back. It will help keep your lower back in a natural posture. Keep the pillow or towel small enough so that it doesn’t feel unnatural or uncomfortable. Starting with good posture in your lower back will help keep the rest of your spine in its natural alignment.
5. Knees Slightly Above Hips
Sit with the height of your knees slightly above or even parallel with your hips. This will keep you from leaning forward. Not leaning forward helps the entire spine keep its natural curve, so it will prevent your head from looking down, flexing forward and ultimately causing strain.
6. Keep Movement In Your Joints
Try to keep movement in your joints throughout the day. Sitting in the chair all day is not allowing your joints to move and then they get accustomed to that. Go ahead and walk around once or twice each hour. Take a trip to the water faucet or take a look out some windows. Any sort of movement throughout the day will be more beneficial than doing nothing.
7. Get Adjusted
Come see us here at Hiawatha Chiropractic and get an adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments can be very beneficial in relieving the neck pain you are already having and even prevent the pain from appearing by keeping your neck in proper alignment. Your road to health is right around the corner!