7 tips for desk workers to help reduce neck pain
Working at a desk for long hours throughout the day can be a common cause of neck pain. Desk workers who practice in a poor ergonomic environment may experience poor posture, excessive muscle tightness, stiff joints and horrible headaches. We share 7 simple tips that desk workers can do to help reduce their neck pain.
1. Assess your desk set up
This will include the positioning of your keyboard, mouse and computer screen. This is very important to reduce the amount of unwanted stress on your neck. Aim to position the keyboard close enough to you so your elbows are bent approximately 90 degrees when typing and the mouse should sit the same distance away. Place your computer monitor directly in front of you with the centre of the screen level with your nose. Ensure any other work tools are within arm’s reach on the desk.
2. Is your chair at the right height?
Adjust the height of the chair so it allows your elbows to bend at approximately 90 degrees on the desk. Ensure you’re sitting right back against the chair, your feet are flat on the floor and your shoulders are relaxed and not rolling forward. For extra spinal support, you can place a support cushion behind your lower back.
3. Take frequent breaks
Aim to get up from your desk every 30 minutes. To remind yourself, set a timer on your phone so you don’t forget. During this break, stand up and move around for a few minutes. This will give your body a rest from that seated position at the desk and allow you to re-set once returning to your desk.
4. Use a headset or earphones with a microphone
If you are frequently on the phone, consider wearing a headset which will prevent repetitive loading through your shoulder and ensure your neck is not tilted for long periods.
Performing stretches to your neck and upper back can help reduce any tightness or stiffness present. Check out our exercise below.
6. Use a foam roller
Getting into a routine of foam rolling can decrease the stiffness and tightness in your spine, which can help reduce any neck pain. Check out our exercise below.
7. Get your vision checked
Have you ever had your eyes checked? Eye strain can be linked with neck pain and headaches. Make sure you get your vision checked by a professional every few years. You can also minimize the stress on your eyes by reviewing your screen brightness and eliminating any glare on your screen.
3 Simple Exercises To Help When You Sit At A Desk For Long Periods of Time
Here are a few activities you can do to help prevent pain and stiffness in your body when you have to sit at a desk every day.
1. Neck and upper shoulder stretch
Start in a seated position, place one hand underneath your bottom, tilt your head to the opposite direction bringing your ear down to your shoulder. You can place your free hand on top of your head to increase the stretch. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds. Ensure you alternate sides 3-4 times to stretch both sides of your neck.
2. Spinal rotation stretch
Start in a seated position, cross your arms so you’re giving yourself a hug, slowly rotate the whole body to the left, before rotating to the right. Aim to perform 15-20 repetitions.
3. Thoracic extension exercise
Start by laying on the floor on your back, place the foam roller under the middle of your back (horizontally), cross your arms by giving yourself a hug, slowly begin to roll over the foam roller by allowing the roller up to the top of your shoulder blades and then down to the bottom of your ribcage where it meets your lower back. Keep your neck in neutral and try not to arch your lower back. Perform this for 30-60 seconds.
Check out our video where we show you exactly how to do these exercises
The team at Canterbury Health Hub can help identify the cause of your neck pain and headaches and build you a treatment plan going forward. This may include hands on manual therapy, exercise prescription and advice on your work ergonomics.
This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.